London: Theo Walcott, one of the outstanding young English talents of his generation, announced Friday he has retired from professional football at the age of 34.
In an 18-year senior career the winger made more than 560 club appearances for Southampton, with whom he started and ended his career, Arsenal and Everton, scoring 129 goals.
He was controversially included in then England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson's squad for the 2006 World Cup without having played international football.
But he went on to become both the youngest player to represent England in a senior men's international and, at the age of 19, score a hat-trick for the national side.
In all, Walcott - whose career was blighted by injuries - scored eight goals in 47 appearances for England.
"The first moment I put my football boots on aged 10, was the start of a special journey for me," Walcott wrote on Instagram.
"The support shown to me throughout this time has been incredible in every way imaginable and I am truly grateful. I've shared the football pitch with so many incredible players and we have created so many unforgettable memories."