Former Saints striker David Connolly has announced his retirement from football with immediate effect.

The 37-year-old made more than 400 senior club appearances during his career, with Watford, Wimbledon, Feyenoord, Leicester and Southampton among a host of clubs he played for, while he won 41 international caps for the Republic of Ireland.

Connolly, who scored 14 goals in 61 appearnces during his time at St Mary’s between 2009 and 2012, joined Sky Bet League Two side AFC Wimbledon in January after his contract with Portsmouth was cancelled by mutual consent but, after managing one goal in eight appearances, he has decided to hang up his boots following discussions with his manager and former team-mate Neal Ardley.

Connolly said: “I pulled Neal aside for a heart-to-heart chat and I felt that now was the time to call it a day.

“As time has gone on I felt that starting games was difficult and so too was travelling up and down the country to come off the bench for ten minutes or so. Neal needed a striker that could play off (Adebayo) Akinfenwa and start games and that wasn’t me.”

Ardley added: “I tried to talk him around, but his mind was made up. I have invited David to come back and do coaching at the club whenever he is ready.”