Guy Branston retires from football after 16 years and 19 clubs

Defender Guy Branston has retired as a footballer after a 16-year career that took him to 19 clubs.

The centre-half's 481st and final match was for Plymouth Argyle in a 3-2 win at Oxford United on Boxing Day last year.

"The big thing for me is I was losing my edge as a player, I could tell that my body was going," the 35-year-old told BBC Sport.

Having played games for 18 of the 19 clubs he was at, Branston's most notable spell was at Rotherham United.

Guy Branston's 19 clubs

Leicester City, Rushden & Diamonds, Colchester United

Plymouth Argyle, Lincoln City, Rotherham United

Wycombe Wanderers, Peterborough United, Sheffield Wednesday

Oldham Athletic, Rochdale, Northampton Town

Notts County, Kettering Town, Burton Albion

Torquay United, Bradford City, Aldershot Town, Bristol Rovers

He helped the South Yorkshire club win back-to-back promotions after beginning his career as a trainee at Leicester.

The 6ft 1in defender, who made his league debut in 1997 while on loan at Rushden & Diamonds from the Foxes, says it was "getting harder and harder" to play each week.

"That was down to my niggles, getting out of bed feeling stiff and sore," he added. "I was getting little pointless things that shouldn't be happening if you're a full-time professional.

"They were slowing me down and people were going past me.

"I had an ankle injury last season and I didn't give it time to rest because I kept pushing myself to play the next game."

Leicester-born Branston added that he did not want to be "one of those footballers" who drops down and down the leagues, preferring instead to be "remembered" for his achievements thus far.

"To be honest, it's a weight off my mind," he added. "But I want to stay in football, because I love football."