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Dean Ashton will lace up his boots once again – 15 years after an ankle injury cut short his career aged 26.

And while he played for England, the 40-year-old is preparing for his toughest challenge – competing in the talkSPORT Trophy, which will be broadcast live on talkSPORT’s YouTube channel.

I played for West Ham and England before injuries ruined my career – but now I’m ‘back’ after 15 years

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Ashton will be returning to football to take part in the talkSPORT Trophy on ThursdayCredit: Getty

The talkSPORT co-commentator will be in action on Thursday representing the All Stars – captained by former Tottenham and England striker Darren Bent – where he will face Team Breakfast.

And he has revealed that a conversation from talkSPORT host and ex-Hammers boss Alan Pardew, who is managing the All Stars, convinced him to return to the pitch.

Speaking to talkSPORT.com, he said: “I think the last sighting of me with football boots on was about ten years ago at Mark Noble’s testimonial [2016].

“So it’s very rare that I would ever come out of hibernation for a game of football, but when the gaffer Pardew gives you the call up, you can’t really say no to be honest!

“I still owe him for buying me for West Ham [for £7million], so I’m ready.”

Ashton, whose injury troubles started in 2006 after he suffered a broken ankle during England training, missed the entire 2006/07 season as a result.

He scored ten Premier League goals the following campaign with the Hammers, resulting in his only Three Lions appearance – a 3-0 win against Trinidad and Tobago.

But he was ultimately unable to shake off his ankle problem, forcing him to call time on his career in December 2009.

Ashton's solitary England outing came against Trinidad and Tobago in a 2008 friendly

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Ashton’s solitary England outing came against Trinidad and Tobago in a 2008 friendlyCredit: Getty
The former striker joined West Ham in January 2006, and stayed there until his retirement

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The former striker joined West Ham in January 2006, and stayed there until his retirement

And Ashton, who began at Crewe before joining West Ham in 2006, has admitted he has no idea how his body is going to react, as he remarked: “I haven’t got a joint so there’s no pain there to be had, it’s just very, very stiff.

“So we’ll see how I get about. If they put me on the wings against one of the quick boys, [Gabby] Agbonlahor or [Jermaine] Pennant, I’ve got no chance.”

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Ashton then fired a warning to Team Breakfast goalkeeper Ian ‘The Moose’ Abrahams, stating: “I’ve heard if you’re lacking in confidence, then this will definitely be the best thing to do.

“To face Ian Abrahams in goal, that will certainly get my confidence back up. I’m all about power with my shots.

“So he’s probably better just to dive out of the way than he is to get hit by one of my shots. That would be my advice for him.”

Despite his injury woes, Ashton has declared he is prepared to roll back the years in an attempt to recreate his stunning overhead kick goal away at Manchester United in 2008.

He even fired in a sensational scissor kick in Noble’s testimonial, with Ashton admitting he can’t help himself when the ball is in the air.

He added: “The problem is, it’s like a flinch mode for me, I’ve got no control over it.

“If it’s there to be done then I can’t help myself, it doesn’t matter if it’s 3G or on a concrete car park, it just is an automatic flinch.

Ashton wowed fans with his acrobatic goal at Old Trafford in 2008

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Ashton wowed fans with his acrobatic goal at Old Trafford in 2008Credit: Premier League

“If the ball arrives at the right height, I’ll end up taking it on and suffering the consequences.”

There you have it, talkSPORT All Stars – if you want an almost guaranteed goal, just whack it in the air for Ashton.

Team Breakfast take on the talkSPORT All Stars for the talkSPORT Trophy on Thursday, March 21 at 2.30pm – LIVE on YouTube



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