Former Birmingham City, Wolves and Doncaster Rovers figure expected to retire at 36

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A player that donned the shirts of both Birmingham City and Wolves looks set to retire come the end of the 2023/24 campaign.

Former Birmingham City defender George Friend is expected to hang up the boots at the end of the season.

It was reported by the Bristol Post that Friend will call time on his 19-year playing career that began at Exeter City in 2005. He is being lined up for a recruitment role at the team he currently plays for Bristol Rovers.

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Friend departed St Andrew's in the summer of 2023 and joined the Gas on a one-year deal but has endured an injury-hit campaign. He has been limited to just 12 appearances and has not made the match-day squad for the last three games.

He has been nursing an ankle injury that has kept him out for the last fortnight and it is yet unknown whether he will announce his retirement before the season concludes. Friend could now stay around the Memorial Stadium and help manager Matt Taylor who was appointed following the sacking of former Newcastle United and QPR midfielder Joey Barton.

Friend worked with Taylor during the latter's playing career at Exeter, and his new role has all but been confirmed by Bristol Rovers' majority shareholder Hussain AlSaeed.

"We don’t have to look outside too much, I think it’s all in house," said AlSaeed to sister website BristolWorld. We have a good player who has been with us and I think he’s getting ready to take the job. Probably Monday they will announce it.

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"I think he’s got the character, the experience, the relationship. I met with the owners respective and the managers and all that and I think he will do a good job in that position."

Friend made a total of 52 appearances for Birmingham after joining from Middlesbrough on a free transfer in 2020. He was limited to just seven appearances in all competitions last season.

Most of his career was spent at the Riverside Stadium for Boro, and over an eight-year spell he played 299 times, with one of the seasons being in the Premier League. His other clubs include Doncaster Rovers where he spent two years as well as Wolverhampton Wanderers, of whom he was at for two years and then Millwall, Southend United and Scunthorpe United where he had loan spells.

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