El Salahi bids Sutton United farewell

Retiring: Karim El Salahi

Retiring: Karim El Salahi

First published in Sutton United Your Local Guardian: Photograph of the Author by

Retiring defender Karim El Salahi has tipped striker trio Joel Ledgister, Kyle Vassell and Craig Watkins to fire Sutton United to the Blue Square South play-offs and beyond.

The 26-year-old club captain called time on his football career in Tuesday's 6-0 Surrey Senior Cup thrashing of Godalming Town - a game that saw Vassell hit four.

Ledgister also found the net as he and Vassell ran the visitors ragged.

"Kyle has a bright future, as does Joel," he said.

"If you put Craig in there as well then the pace Sutton have up front is frightening..

"When you play against them in training they always score goals and they will score goals against anyone in this league.

"If you can get the other players to play to their strengths then they will cause anyone problems.

"The manager is getting young players in so he is already looking towards the bigger picture and that picture looks very good at the moment."

El Salahi retired from the game this week after being told long standing groin and back problems required two major operations or nine months complete rest, to cure.

The former Eastleigh defender, who made 182 appearances in three-and-a-half seasons with Sutton and led them to Ryman Premier League promotion last season, chose the latter.

"I've got two discs in my back that are wearing away and that is causing a thickening of my groin and problems with my knees - it is the price for neglecting my body," he said.

"I didn't want anyone messing with my spine so I'm letting things take their course.

"I've been taking pain killers just to get through games in the last few years and taking a step back from football was a difficult and pretty sad decision, but I can concentrate on my job and you never know, I might be back "Last year was so much fun and winning the league was brilliant.

"I'll never forget that day at Carshalton when we won promotion and celebrated with the fans. It was amazing."

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