FORMER Oxford United winger Aidan Hawtin has been forced into retirement aged just 21.

Problems with both knees have plagued him since playing for the U’s youth team.

Hawtin has only managed one appearance for Brackley Town’s reserves this season and a recurrence of the problem prompted him to reluctantly hang up his boots.

The Bicester youngster fought back from two serious knee injuries to earn a professional contract at United.

He made one first-team appearance, as a substitute in the 3-0 win away to Tranmere Rovers in April 2015.

Hawtin was released 12 months ago so he could move to Valdres FK in Norway.

U’s boss Michael Appleton, who himself had to retire prematurely due to a knee injury, said: “Everyone talks about people who give 100 per cent in training and games, but he genuinely was one of those who would give you everything.

“His attitude and commitment was first-class, to the point where he got a taste of the first team – and deservedly so.

“He’s at the start of a different journey now and he will need that attitude again.”

Chris Allen, who was in charge of the youth team when Hawtin came through, said: "It's such a shame.

"When he came back from the injuries he had lost a bit of quality, but he hadn't lost any of his attitude.

"One thing I do know is whatever he goes into now he will be fine.

"It's a sucker punch, but he's a top lad and any guidance we can give him we will help him all the way."