Published: 06:16, 01 June 2021
| Updated: 06:25, 01 June 2021
Ex-Gills favourite Matt Jarvis says he will miss everything about football after announcing his retirement.
Jarvis, 35, has called time on an 18-year professional career that started at Priestfield in 2003 after he was released by Millwall.
The winger made his debut as a 17-year-old and scored 16 goals in 122 appearances before landing a £600,000 move to Wolves in 2007.
He won an England cap during his time as a Premier League player at Molineux, coming on for Jack Wilshere in a 1-1 draw against Ghana at Wembley in 2011.
Jarvis described that as “the greatest honour” while his Wolves form secured a £7.5m switch to West Ham in 2012.
A serious knee injury halted his progress after moving on to Norwich and he finished his career with spells at Walsall, playing against the Gills in January 2019, and Woking.
“After 18 years as a professional footballer I now feel it’s the right time for me to retire from the game I love,” said Jarvis.
“It was never going to be an easy decision and I will miss everything about it, the training, the banter, the competitive desire to win, but most of all the atmosphere on a match day from start to finish.
“As a kid I could never have envisaged being able to say I would have played in the Premier League for eight years, gained promotion as champions from the Championship and enjoyed numerous seasons in the Championship and League 1, also fulfilling a boyhood dream of representing my country, which was such a huge honour.
“I have represented many fantastic clubs who I can’t even put into words how much I have enjoyed wearing their badges with immense pride and trying my best to bring points and edge-of-your-seat performances.”
Jarvis paid tribute to managers, coaches, team-mates, family and friends in his retirement statement, saving a final word for the fans.
“You make the game we all love and have given me the biggest privilege in being able to perform and hopefully entertain you to the best of my ability,” he said. “I will miss each and every one of you.”
Jarvis trained with the Gills as a free agent two years ago, shortly after Steve Evans’ arrival as manager.
He remains a popular figure at Priestfield, with the club saying: “Everyone at Gillingham would like to congratulate Matt on an excellent career, and we wish him well in his retirement.”