TAREIQ Holmes-Dennis has reluctantly announced his retirement from professional football aged just 24.

After three painful years of battling a knee injury, the left back has had to hang up his boots.

His first experience of senior football came with Oxford United.

Brought in on loan by Michael Appleton in the wake of a 5-1 hammering at Cambridge United, the 18-year-old settled quickly.

Oxford Mail:

  • Tareiq Holmes-Dennis on the day he joined Oxford United in October 2014

He went on to start 17 games for the U's before his loan from Charlton Athletic expired, by which time Joe Skarz had been signed.

Also read: Oxford United boss on his defensive plan before window shuts

Holmes-Dennis went on to make more than 100 appearances across spells at Plymouth Argyle, Portsmouth, Huddersfield Town and Bristol Rovers.

But in a post on Instagram he admitted he was never the same after an injury he sustained while at Fratton Park in 2017.

He wrote: "After injuring my knee at Portsmouth over three years ago, which at the time I saw as a minor setback, I was ready to attack my rehab head on and never once did it cross my mind that it would actually affect my career.

"The dream never changes, but the people that have followed my career and know me personally would be aware that I've never recovered from that injury.

"Almost every day for the past three years, pain, swelling etc, but it's never going to be public knowledge.

"Specialists told me to stop playing well over a year ago, but I didn't care because I only had one vision and goal in mind. I didn't believe someone could tell me to stop.

"Anyway, I count myself as one of the lucky ones. I managed to get to a level I can be proud of, played over 100 games from League Two to the Championship, gained promotion to the Premier League and met some of the best people and gained friends for life.

"Represented some great clubs in Charlton, Huddersfield, Portsmouth, Plymouth and Oxford."