Bolton Wanderers academy graduate Joe Riley has been forced to retire through injury at just 29.

The right-back suffered a knee injury that stopped him from making a single appearance in the 2020/21 campaign.

Riley has been on the books with League Two side Mansfield Town since January 2020, joining on a free transfer from Plymouth Argyle.

Since joining the Stags, Riley has been limited to just six appearances for the club. He netted one goal for the club, but it has been confirmed that he won’t be adding to that total.

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Riley announced his retirement on Tuesday night, confirming that a knee injury has brought an early end to his playing career.

Despite finishing his career at 29, the former Bolton Wanderers remained positive when looking back on his career. Upon the announcement, he expressed his gratitude for getting the chance to live out his dream.

The Salford-born ace started his career with Bolton, coming through the club’s youth academy before going on to make nine appearances for their senior side.

Riley also featured for Oxford United (loan), Bury, Shrewsbury Town, Plymouth and Mansfield over the course of his career.

Thoughts?

It’s a real shame to see Riley’s career brought to an early end, but this doesn’t have to spell the end of his football career.

Plenty of players move into coaching upon retirement or into the media, so it will be interesting to see what Riley’s future brings.