5 players who made retirement U-turn from Paul Scholes to Roger Milla

We take a trawl down memory lane to look at some of the players who decided to hang up their boots only to renege on their choice and make a surprise return to the beautiful game

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  • 12:25, 24 Nov 2021
  • Updated13:05, 24 Nov 2021
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Marcus Maddison raised eyebrows when he announced his intention to make a swift return to professional football this week.

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Only a few months ago the former Peterborough and Charlton winger gave an open and honest interview detailing his off-field struggles.

He admitted to having fell out of love with football and signed up with non-league side Spalding United.

But now the 28-year-old is targeting a comeback after admitting: "I’ve decided I want to go back. I’m working on my knee issues currently and come the new year I will really start to work on my fitness.

“I’m looking forward to the 2022-23 season wherever I end up."

If he does end up getting a deal with a pro club Maddison will certainly not be the first player to reverse his decision to leave the game behind.

Here, we look at five others who have done a u-turn on retirement.

Which player that is currently retired do you think could still do a job in the Premier League? Let us know in the comments section

Paul Scholes reversed his decision to retire and spent another 18 months with Man United

Paul Scholes

Scholes had originally hung up his boots at the end of the 2010-11 season but clearly had itchy feet just six months on.

He was surprisingly named on the subs bench for a Manchester derby in January 2012.

Speaking about his comeback on BT Sport in 2018, Scholes said: "I was fit and it came to December and they were struggling, especially in midfield.

"I was nervous about doing it (comeback) thinking what if they said no?

"But Sir Alex said yes straight away. We were playing City away and Sir Alex said to not tell the lads. I think I trained once with the first team before that."

Scholes ended up making 21 appearances in the second half of the season and then stayed on for another year, the season Ferguson retired, as United won back the title – still the last time they lifted the Premier League.

Jens Lehmann

Jens Lehman on his Arsenal return, back in 2011

The German goalkeeper had a long and successful career and there was little shock when in the summer of 2010, at the age of 40, he hung up his gloves.

Or so we thought.

Lehmann, who had left Arsenal in 2008 to head back to his homeland, was coaxed out of retirement by the Gunners less than a year later.

Arsenal had a goalkeeping injury crisis and Lehmann, by then turned 41, managed one final swansong appearance in a 3-1 win over Blackpool in April 2011.

Stephen Carr

Stephen Carr proudly lifts the League Cup as Birmingham skipper. Before his spell with the Blues he had announced his retirement

Carr had a long and successful career with Spurs and Newcastle, playing exclusively in the Premier League.

In 2008, after being let go by Newcastle, Carr struggled to find a new club and at just 32 he announced his intention to retire.

It was not until February 2009 that Championship side Birmingham would offer Carr a trial. After impressing, the Ireland full-back was given a short-term deal which was duly extended.

He would go on to make more than 100 appearances for City, helping them into the Premier League and captaining them to a famous League Cup win in 2011.

His last game was in February 2012 with injuries forcing him to retire for good at the end of the 2012-13 season.

Sam Hutchinson

After injuries forced him to retire at 21, Sam Hutchinson made a comeback and is now a fans' favourite at Sheffield Wednesday

Hutchinson was in the Chelsea academy and had shown promising signs when he retired in 2010, at the age of just 21.

Recurring knee injuries were the catalyst, with Hutchinson saying about that decision: “It wasn’t a big call [to retire] at the time because I hated it.

“I just wanted to stop the pain and stop everything. I never wanted to come back."

But after plenty of rehab he did just that and after a clutch of loan spells he was handed a permanent deal by Sheffield Wednesday in 2014.

Now in his second spell at Hillsborough, the 32-year-old is a firm fans' favourite.

Roger Milla

Cameroon's forward Roger Milla scored at the 1994 World Cup – at the age of 42, having originally retired when he was 36

In 1988, at the age of 36, legendary Cameroon striker Milla announced his retirement.

But he was persuaded to play one last tournament for his country at the World Cup in Italy in 1990.

And what an impact he would have. Milla was one of the faces of the tournament, with the 38-year-old scoring four times. Two of those were in the memorable quarter-final with England, which the Three Lions scraped through in extra time.

That would not be Milla's swansong however. He even played at the next World Cup, in the USA in 1994.

Aged 42, his goal against Russia made him the oldest-ever scorer at a World Cup game – a record that still proudly stands.

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