Sam Saunders has announced his retirement from football.

The 35-year-old midfielder, who finished the 2018-19 campaign with Colchester United, has decided to hang up his boots.

Saunders made a positive impression after joining Colchester as a free agent in the final weeks of the 2018-19 season, following his departure from Wycombe Wanderers in January.

The former Brentford midfielder made six appearances for the U’s, as they agonisingly missed out on a place in the League Two play-offs.

Saunders, who has won promotion with three different clubs during his professional career, proved a valuable asset for Colchester.

He was a key midfield performer, especially with Harry Pell sidelined due to a hamstring injury which caused him to sit out the final three months of the campaign.

Saunders finished on the losing side only once for the U's and boss John McGreal revealed to the Gazette earlier this month that they had been in talks with him about a possible stay at the JobServe Community Stadium.

However, he has now decided to call time on his impressive career after more than 400 league and cup appearances since making his debut for Dagenham and Redbridge back in August, 2005.

Writing on his Instagram page, Saunders said: "The day has come a day as a 5 year old playing football in the garden with my dad you never see coming. I'm hanging the boots up.

"What a journey it’s been from helping @daggersfcofficial get into the football league, promotion and wembley finals with @brentfordfc in a fantastic 8 years with a special special club.

"Promotion with @wwfcofficial And finishing with a good set up down at @colu_official I can’t thank my former team mates, gaffas and supporters enough, happy to say I’ve truly made some friends for life ❤️ I would have taken 1 professional game so to pass 400 gives me great pride.

"I’d never have been able to do that without support from my friends and family so thank you ❤️

"I’m looking forward to my future career and can’t wait to get going. Saunds"