Former England goalkeeper Chris Kirkland has left Bury having not played a game for the club, saying he wants time away from the game.
Kirkland, who played once for his country against Greece in 2006, only signed a one-year contract at Bury in June but has had it terminated upon request.
In a statement, Kirkland thanked officials at Bury for their ‘compassion’ and said: “It’s a decision I’ve taken putting my family’s future and wellbeing first.
“I know people will find it hard to understand why someone like myself, who has been lucky enough to have spent my professional life in football and enjoyed all the benefits that comes with that, needs some time and space away from the game…but I know it’s the right one.
“I hope, at the appropriate time, I might be able to, again, be involved and work within football, either as a player or in coaching or even work within the community.”
Kirkland started his career at Coventry before being signed in 2001 by Liverpool as one of England’s most promising young goalkeepers. He won the League Cup with Liverpool, before moving on to West Bromwich Albion, Wigan, Leicester, Doncaster and Sheffield Wednesday, racking up a total of 321 club appearances.
Bury manager David Flitcroft said: “It has been a difficult situation to deal with.
“When someone like Chris Kirkland, who has so much to offer the game as a player and as a person comes into your building and says he doesn’t want to and can’t carry on you have to listen,” he said.
“Chris needs time out away from the game he loves, but family is and will always be more important than football.”
Bury kick-off their Leaque One campaign tomorrow at home to Charlton.