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Azkals mainstay James Younghusband hangs up boots

James Younghusband during his stint with Davao Aguilas. Kennelf Monteza (file photo)
By Drew Malihan

MANILA - "Time to say goodbye."

This is what Azkals regular member James Younghusband said when he announced his retirement from football on Thursday.

In his official Instagram account, Younghusband thanked his former clubs from his academy years up to the professional ranks.

"I feel lucky to have experienced wonderful memories and thankful for every moment of my time with my clubs and country," the former Azkals striker said on his post.

The Filipino-English footballer expresses his gratitude towards the game, saying "I have loved playing this game."

James, aged 33, followed his younger brother Phil, who hung his own boots last November after months of being a free agent.

The older Younghusband spent his last season at Ceres-Negros during the midseason transfer, in which he appeared for seven games and scored two goal to the Busmen lift the Philippines Football League trophy and the Copa Paulino Alcantara.

James started his football career at the age of ten at the Chelsea youth system along with his brother Phil, which he stayed until 2003.

From there, he had spells in English clubs AFC Wimbledon, Staines Town, Woking, and Farmborough from 2005-2010, which he earned a combined 56 caps and 10 goals.

From there, he and Phil joined San Beda FC, now Mendiola FC 1991, in 2011, for his first stint in the Philippine football scene.

He joined Loyola Meralco Sparks in 2012 and stayed until 2017, which he scored 25 goals in 43 appearances.

James had his most successful years at Davao Aguilas, where he earned 53 appearances and scored 20 goals in his name before the disbandment of the Tagum-based team.

He also appeared 101 times with the Philippine national football team, thanks to a keen Football Manager gamer who discovered the Younghusband brothers at the Chelsea reserves side in 2005.

He scored his first international goal at age 20 in a 4-1 losing effort against Singapore in 2007. He soon added 12 in his tally, mostly as a midfielder.

Younghusband played his last international match for the Azkals at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

Follow him on Twitter: @drewmalihan