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On This Day in 2006: Dean Ashton’s bad break

Soccer – Barclays Premier League – West Ham United v Aston Villa – Upton Park
(Image credit: David Davies)

On this day in 2006 West Ham striker Dean Ashton broke his ankle in training with England following his first call-up to the national squad.

The injury eventually forced him to retire from the game aged just 26.

Ashton began his career with Crewe and a tally of 74 goals in 177 matches secured a move to Norwich.

Soccer – Coca-Cola Championship – Crewe v Millwall – Gresty Road

Ashton began his career at Crewe (Nick Potts/PA)

His form for the Canaries prompted West Ham to make a £7million swoop in January 2006, and Ashton went on to help his new side reach the FA Cup final.

He scored twice in the quarter-final against Manchester City and was on the scoresheet in the final, although Liverpool won on penalties following a memorable 3-3 draw.

SOCCER FA_Cup

The striker grabbed an FA Cup final goal in 2006 (Martin Rickett/PA)

That summer Ashton broke his left ankle while training with England ahead of a friendly against Greece, ruling him out for the whole of the next season.

He returned to make 35 appearances in 2007-08 and made his England debut the following June, two years after his first call-up, against Trinidad and Tobago. It was Ashton’s only appearance for the national side.

Soccer – International Friendly – Trinidad and Tobago v England – Hasely Crawford Stadium

Ashton was restricted to one England appearance (Owen Humphreys/PA)

An injury to the same ankle in training in September 2008 ruled Ashton out for the season and West Ham announced his retirement in December 2009.

Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola said: “It’s a sad situation. He’s very young, very talented, to see such a player having to retire is bad.”