Stuart Dallas sends out ‘never give up’ message as he looks to inspire Irish League’s next generation

It wasn’t the ending Stuart Dallas had wished for but the 32-year-old is hoping his journey can inspire the next generation of Irish League stars to “never give up”.

The Leeds United star was forced to call time on his career last week following a two-year injury battle and while he admitted it was a “hard decision” to make it was the correct one. Speaking after making the draw for this summer’s Under-19 European Championship, which are being held in Northern Ireland, the former Crusaders and Coagh United man hopes his rise can show others in the province that they can progress to the elite level of the game.

“I hope it can,” he said. “It is something I’ve never really thought about when I was playing.

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“Now that I’ve finished when I look at my journey I hope it can inspire people and for kids who don’t get a chance at a younger age and have to wait that bit longer and use the Irish League as a stepping stone.

“I know the JD Academy is in place now giving young players a better platform. When I was coming through I didn’t have that. Hopefully people can look at my journey to never give up.

“It’s been a stressful couple of weeks to be honest but now that it is out in the open I feel a bit of relief,” added Dallas on the announcement of his retirement.

“Obviously the decision was really hard but I know myself it was the right decision and I’m excited for what the future holds and looking forward to it.”

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