Cheltenham Town: Retirement is not an option - Steve Elliott
CHELTENHAM Town's most senior player Steve Elliott has no plans to hang up his boots any time soon.
The consistent 34-year-old has started every League Two match for the Robins this season and while he has already started to make plans for life after his playing days, he wants to continue for at least two more seasons.
"I think about retirement and I think you have to at my age, but I'd like to think I have another couple of years in me," Elliott said.
"I feel great, I am not struggling after games and I am recovering well.
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"The manager (Mark Yates) and staff are looking after me so I can't see any reason why retirement will be in the near future.
"I am doing my coaching badges now and I have a few other things on the go, so I am planning for the future."
Elliott made the 500th appearance of his career in Cheltenham's 2-1 win at Southend United a fortnight ago.
He started out at home-town club Derby County, playing regularly in the Premier League before spells with Blackpool and Bristol Rovers.
The England Under-21 cap joined Cheltenham in the summer of 2010 and he said he was proud to be part of the progress the club have made in the past three seasons.
"When I came here the club had been struggling and everyone was saying how bad the previous regime had been," Elliott said.
"Getting to Wembley last season was a proud moment because we made so much progress so quickly.
"It was a fantastic achievement, but of course we want to go one step better this season and win promotion."
Elliott spent all of last season and the first half of this campaign playing next to Alan Bennett, but the former skipper left at the end of January and his place has been taken by Reading loan youngster Michael Hector.
The 20-year-old has impressed with his athleticism and composure and Elliott believes he has all the tools to forge a long and successful career in the pro ranks.
"Michael has got everything and if he keeps his head screwed on and keeps working hard, I can't see why he can't play at a higher level," Elliott said.
"He is athletic and strong and I will try and help him as much as I can, but I think he's got a bright future ahead of him."
Elliott admitted Bennett's departure in the final hours of the January transfer window came as a shock.
But he also said that the Irishman's contribution to the club should not be forgotten as he returns to Whaddon Road with new club AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.
"It was a surprise to see Benno go because he had done well for this football club," Elliott said.
"He was a great lad to have around and a good defensive partner, but nothing should surprise you too much in football I suppose.
"I don't know the exact reasons, but I've spoken to him and he's fine.
"He's happy and he scored the other night so I am sure he's settled in at Wimbledon and he lives over that way anyway.
"I have fond memories of playing with Al and it shouldn't be forgotten what he did for this football club."