Former Chelsea youth player Izzy Brown has announced his premature retirement from professional football at the age of just 26 as a result of injury.
Brown became the second youngest player in Premier League history when he made his debut for West Brom aged 16 years and 117 days in May 2013. He soon joined Chelsea and won two FA Youth Cups with the Blues, as well as the UEFA Youth League.
His first-team debut at Chelsea came in May 2015, before embarking on seven loans away from the club, starting with a stint at Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem.
Brown went on to play extensively in the Championship for Rotherham, Huddersfield, Leeds, Luton and Sheffield Wednesday, as well as a top flight spell with Brighton in 2017/18.
The winger was still on the books at Chelsea until as recently as 2021, eventually leaving the club and signing with Preston North End on a permanent deal. But he never played a single game for the Lancashire side after suffering the ruptured Achilles in pre-season that ultimately ended his career.
Read more on Frank Lampard’s return to Chelsea
Brown was released by Preston in May 2022, with his last game as a professional footballer having come as a substitute for Sheffield Wednesday against Swansea in April 2021.
“I just didn’t think this day would come so soon,” Brown said in a statement posted on social media.
“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that after a long year of struggling from two Achilles tendon surgeries, I now have to retire from professional football.
“I will always remember the memories I have made. They will live with me forever. From being told I was going to be on the bench against Chelsea, to making my debut against Wigan at the age of 16 for West Brom. Then getting to make my debut for Chelsea, the club I dreamed of playing for when I was a little boy. And I’ll never forget getting promoted to the Premier League with Huddersfield at Wembley. That will forever be one of the happiest and greatest moments of my life.”
On this edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders, Graeme Bailey, Toby Cudworth & Tom Gott discuss Chelsea’s decision to sack Graham Potter, Man City and Real Madrid’s interest in Josko Gvardiol, the futures of William Saliba, Kai Havertz, Randal Kolo Muani & more! If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!