COLIN Cooper has confirmed Jonathan Greening won’t be signing for Hartlepool United - because he has retired from football!
The 35-year-old free agent had been training with Pools for a couple of days last week and Cooper was willing to sit down and talk about his future.
But after two days training at Maiden Castle, in Durham, Greening told the Pools manager that he no longer felt up to playing professional football.
The experienced midfielder enjoyed a hugely successful career playing for Manchester United - where he won the Champions League in 1999 - Middlesbrough, West Brom and Nottingham Forest.
After being asked by SportMail about Greening’s future at Pools at yesterday’s pre-match press conference, Cooper confirmed he had hung up his boots.
He added he warned Scarborough-born Greening not to be “too hasty” over his decision as players are a long time retired.
Cooper, who joked his training methods were the final straw, told SportMail: “Jonathan had two days with us and decided to retire from football.
“He has had a bit of time over the summer with his family.
“I was prepared to sit down and have a conversation with him about moving forward but after training he said he feels as though it is probably beyond him.
“That is a really honest assessment from someone who has had the career he has had.
“What I did say to him was don’t be too hasty because your football career never comes back.
“Whether you are 34, 35, and if you can play until you’re 40 then play because it won’t come back.
“He is a great lad, is as fit as anyone I have ever known, but I did tell him not to be too hasty whether that is here or anywhere else.
“He is very keen to go into the coaching side and is on his pathway for his badges but I said don’t give your football career up in a hurry because it never comes back.
“I have seen a couple of people who regret not having the extra couple of years when their bodies are more than capable.
“That was my advice to someone I have known for a while.”
SportMail first revealed at the start of July that Cooper was tracking the former Premier League midfielder.
Since being released by Nottingham Forest at the end of last season, Greening had also spent time on trial at Championship side Rotherham United but failed to win a contract.
Greening, who started his career at York City, had trained with Pools earlier this summer and played in the pre-season friendly against Middlesbrough at Victoria Park.
He then left the club but returned last week for a further two days training at Maiden Castle, in Durham, but then announced his retirement to Cooper.