By Graham Hill
JOHN Terry has led the tributes to former Gabby Agbonlahor who has officially announced his retirement from the game.
Agbonlahor left Villa last summer to end a 17-year connection with his boyhood club.
But now he has decided to call it a day – and admits he will not now play for another team.
Agbonlahor was expected to carry on playing, but the club’s record Premier League goalscorer has decided to bring the curtain down at the age of 32.
Ex-England captain Terry, now a coach at Villa, said: illa coach John Terry responded to the message saying: “Congratulations on a great career mate.”
And Agbonlahor explained his decision on social media.
He posted: “If I would have been told at school I would play nearly 400 league games, be the record Premier League goalscorer for Aston Villa, captain the great club and represent England at senior level I would have laughed!!!
“The time has come to officially retire and watch Aston Villa as a fan!!! I wanna say thank you to all the supporters the staff I have worked with at a great club and my ex team mates.
“The thought of playing for another team or playing against Aston Villa was something I just couldn’t do.
“I look forward to whatever the future holds utv.”
Agbonlahor’s played his last senior game in December, 2017.
It was a career that promised so much but ended in disappointment with Villa sliding out of the top flight and into the Championship.
Agbonlahor is a product of Villa’s Academy system and made his first-team debut in 2006 following loans to Watford and Sheffield Wednesday.
With 73 goals, he is Aston Villa’s all-time leading Premier League goalscorer, having scored in 11 consecutive league seasons.
Formerly a regular with England’s Under-21s Agbonlahor made his senior international debut for England in 2008 and has earned three caps.
He was named club captain at the start of the 2125-2016 season but he was dropped after Remi Garde replaced Tim Sherwood as manager.
In April 2016, Villa suspended Agbonlahor, pending an investigation into reports that he was pictured appearing to holding a shisha pipe while on holiday in Dubai. Three weeks later, he was again suspended after he was allegedly pictured with laughing gas canisters.
He was punished with a substantial fine and resigned the captaincy. Agbonlahor failed to impress new manager Roberto di Matteo in the following pre-season.
But when Steve Bruce arrived in place of the sacked di Matteo, he immediately reinstated Agbonlahor into first-team training, saying that he’s ‘not interested in what has happened in the past’ and that it’s a ‘clean slate’.
Bruce then put him on a six-week fitness regime in a bid to get him fit for the rest of the season. Agbonlahor came on as a substitute in the Second City derby on 23 April 2017 and, typically against Blues, scored his only goal of the season in a 1–0 win
He left the club at the end of last season after his contract was not renewed.