"I still have a great appetite for football, but unfortunately my body hasn't, so it's a no-brainer for me to retire from playing."

Ward hasn't played since December 2007, and with both Craig Gordon and Marton Fulop in a battle for Sunderland's first choice keeper, Ward never even got close to a seat on the bench.

Although the Welsh international will no longer play professional football, he still has a great desire to stay part of the game in a coaching capacity.

I would like to thank Darren Ward as I am sure I speak for the Sunderland fans, for providing our club with a fantastic service and did his fair share in getting our team into the Premiership.