Ipswich Town defender Stephen Ward wants to extend his playing career for at least another season, with retirement not on the agenda just yet.
Ward is now 35 years old and has had a career that’s seen him play 50 times for the Republic of Ireland and played countless seasons in the Premier League for Wolves and Burnley.
But as the age has advanced, the legs have got somewhat slower and that is why the left-back now plies his trade in League One with the Tractor Boys.
Ward has played 28 times in League One for Ipswich and even captained the side against Charlton Athletic at the weekend, which may be a sign that Paul Cook is planning on keeping the Irishman around for next season.
Like a lot of Ipswich players, Ward’s contract is expiring this summer, and with Cook planning a major overhaul of the squad following recent performances, players will be anxious to learn about their futures with the season coming to a close.
Considering he will be 36 in the first few weeks of the 2021/22 campaign, retirement talk will always come up when it comes to Ward, but he’s made it clear that he doesn’t see himself stopping playing anytime soon.
“I feel good and that I’m still in good shape so I long-term of course I want to keep playing,” Ward said, per Suffolk News.
“I just want to stay in the game. I am currently doing my coaching badges at the minute.
“When you live and breathe football and you’ve been in it for so many years it is difficult to think of moving into something else.
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“So yes, hopefully I will stay in some capacity in the game and then take it from there but obviously I still feel I would like to play another year, especially as it has been a big thing this year without any crowds.
“I think I would just love to play another season where you have that feeling of crowds coming to games and you have the real atmosphere back.”
“To be honest I don’t think that far ahead,” Ward said when quizzed about his contract status.
“My future and next season will come in the summer when the season finishes. But until the last whistle goes on the last day of the season I just want to concentrate on playing and doing well for the team.”
Based on recent reactions from Ipswich fans to Ward’s performances, then they won’t be bothered if he leaves this summer.
By all accounts in the recent drubbing by AFC Wimbledon, Ward had a bit of a shocker and you’d think that the Tractor Boys could get a younger upgrade on the Irishman this summer.
Now ownership of the club has changed hands, Ipswich fans will be expecting investment on the playing side of things and the likes of Ward, Cole Skuse and others will not be feeling too great about their futures at Portman Road come the end of the season.