Shanklin announces retirement
April 21, 2011
Cardiff Blues centre Tom Shanklin has been forced to hang up his boots © Getty Images
Wales and Cardiff Blues centre Tom Shanklin has been forced to call time on his professional career because of injury.
The 31-year-old midfielder, who was capped 70 times by his country and named in two British & Irish Lions squads, revealed that his knee was no longer up to the rigours of top-flight rugby.
"My knee isn't too bad, it's ok to walk and cycle and to do everyday things, but with regards to playing rugby - accelerating, changing direction, weight lifting - it's not too good," he explained. "I had an operation in January to see if we could fix the problem and it hasn't worked.
"It's bone on bone on my knee which has restricted me from doing a lot of things and I'm going to have to retire from the game. The advice from Rhys Williams the surgeon was to retire. Rhys knows the inside of my knee pretty well having done three or four operations on it.
"It was down to me to decide if I can continue or not, but I can't go on, as it's too sore and it's a pretty black and white situation. I can't fully function with it and I need to start taking account of my body and start listening to it.
"I've had a history with a bad knee, but since 2005 it hasn't really troubled me. I've managed to carry on and continue until I injured it again January. I was aware at the time that it could end my career. I've now had time to take it on board, so it isn't a shock, and I've come to terms that I'll never play again."
Shanklin revealed that he has already turned his attention to his life after rugby, admitting: "This summer I will be definitely spending more time at home with the family and enjoying my weekends. I'll still be watching the Blues and Wales but I'll be able to relax and maybe have a beer or two and watch some games with my mates.
"After that I'll be looking to get a job in the real world, which is a little bit daunting, but happens to all rugby players after they finish. Rugby doesn't pay like football so you need a job after, so I've been looking into that and will be starting to do some work for M.I.B. Construction."
Shanklin started out with Saracens but his career really took off when he joined Cardiff in 2003. He went on to collect Anglo-Welsh Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup winners' medals with the region and during his time with the Blues also established himself in the Wales squad. He was an integral member of the sides that recorded Six Nations Grand Slams in 2005 and 2008.
"I've been fortunate to have played with some great players and in successful teams, so any trophy that you win stands out in the memory," Shanklin said. "The Grand Slams and Anglo-Welsh final were great days but I was gutted I couldn't play in the Amlin Final, maybe I played a part in the early stages.
"Winning my 50th cap against Italy in the 2008 Grand Slam year is also one of my favourite moments. It was a great achievement for me and I remember the day very well. I scored a try as well so it makes it even more memorable. It was a great occasion."
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