Ashton back on operating table

DEAN ASHTON faces three agonising months in plaster after undergoing yet another operation on the ankle that has forced his retirement from the game. The 26-year-old striker went under the knife on Tuesday in a bid to ease the pain in his ankle and enable

DEAN ASHTON faces three agonising months in plaster after undergoing yet another operation on the ankle that has forced his retirement from the game.

The 26-year-old striker went under the knife on Tuesday in a bid to ease the pain in his ankle and enable him to walk properly in the future.

Ashton, who collected one England cap, praised fans for their support during his long and, in the end, fruitless battle to return from the injury that has blighted his career at Upton Park.

"I would like to thank West Ham as a club for all the time they have spent on me and the fans have been terrific," he said. "I'm sad that I could not get back and play in front of them.


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"It's a rubbish situation. This news is what every footballer dreads. But at the moment, I just want to be able to walk properly and at the moment, I cannot."

Ashton has apparently picked up �3million from West Ham as part of the insurance payment received by the club, while he is also considering a claim against Shaun Wright-Phillips, who inflicted his initial ankle injury, and his club at the time, Sunday's opponents Chelsea.

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West Ham will also look to make a compensation claim against the FA as he was on England duty when the injury occurred, but that is likely to be a long-winded legal tussle as Ashton did manage to return to club action after the injury.

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