Derry City FC forward Liam Coyle, considered one of the Irish Premier Division's most gifted players of recent times, has been forced to quit at the age of 35.
Coyle has been plagued with knee problems for most of his career and has finally had to admit defeat. "I struggled with injuries so much last season that I really didn't want to start another term," he said. "The injuries took longer to heal and that, plus the fact I simply couldn't play for 90 minutes, made me lose my appetite."
Coyle, who will stay involved with the club in a scouting role, made his name by scoring a hat-trick on his Derry debut in 1988 and helped them win the treble in 1989. His performance in the first leg of a European Champion Clubs' Cup tie against SL Benfica in 1989 greatly impressed then Benfica coach Sven-Göran Eriksson, who even made enquiries about signing him on a six-month loan.
However, Coyle suffered a serious knee injury before the second leg and the move fell through. Coyle was capped once at senior international level by Northern Ireland, following in the footsteps of his father, Fay, who played for the country at the 1958 FIFA World Cup finals.
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