Wilkinson forced to retire after head injury

Stoke City's Andy Wilkinson tackles Manchester City's Robinho (R) during their English Premier League soccer match at the Britannia Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent, central England January 31, 2009. REUTERS/Darren Staples (Reuters)

LONDON (Reuters) - Former Stoke City defender Andy Wilkinson has been forced to retire more than a year after being hit in the head by the ball during an FA Cup tie, he told Sky Sports News on Friday. He has not played since and recently saw a specialist in Canada, but has reluctantly accepted that his career is over. Wilkinson, 31, was struck at close range after coming on as a halftime substitute in a cup tie at Blackburn Rovers in February last year. "Over a year on from the injury, there's still a lot going on," he told Sky. He said that he was affected by vertigo and blurred vision whenever he trained. His contract with Stoke ended in the close season after he made almost 200 appearances for the club. (Reporting by Steve Tongue; editing by Toby Davis)