Arsène Wenger is "very sad" about the retirement of Dean Ashton at the age of only 26.

The West Ham United forward has failed to recover after breaking his ankle during a training session with England in August 2006. The former Crewe and Norwich player underwent several operations since the injury but was forced to announce his retirement from football on Friday morning.

"It is very sad that Dean Ashton has to retire because I always thought he was a very intelligent and efficient player," said the Arsenal manager.

"I liked him personally as a player and a personality on the pitch. It is sad, but in our job you depend on your health.

"I used to say that the first quality of a good football player is that they have a good health and we forget that many times."

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 11 Dec 2009