The final year? Rotherham United birthday boy Lee Peltier on the prospect of retirement

BIRTHDAY boy Lee Peltier admits there may be no happy return next season as he contemplates bringing down the curtain on his stellar playing career.

The Rotherham United defender has been one of the Millers' top performers this term as they seek to emulate last season's Championship survival feat.

But Monday saw him turn 37 and he has yet to make up his mind whether he'll be pulling on his boots again after seeing out the 2023/24 campaign.

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“Don't remind me!” the Liverpudlian joked when the Advertiser mentioned another year on his clock. “It's coming to that time where you've got to start planning. No set decision has been made yet.”

Rotherham United's Lee Peltier in action at Birmingham City. Picture: Jim BrailsfordRotherham United's Lee Peltier in action at Birmingham City. Picture: Jim Brailsford
Rotherham United's Lee Peltier in action at Birmingham City. Picture: Jim Brailsford

Saturday's home clash against Swansea City saw the right-back who also offers quality cover at centre-half rack up his 575th appearance, more than 17 years after his first one, for home-town club Liverpool in a Carling Cup win over Reading back in October 2006.

Since then he's gone on to be one of the most respected players in the second tier with clubs like Leicester City, Leeds United, Cardiff City and Middlesbrough and also enjoy a season in the top flight for the Bluebirds.

Peltier played a full part in last year's Millers' safety mission following his departure from Boro and signed a new one-year contract at AESSEAL New York Stadium in the summer.

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He is working towards his UEFA coaching qualifications as he continues to be one of the club's key men on the pitch.

“I still feel great,” he said. “I know I'm picking up little bits and bobs (injuries) here and there but that's just the nature of the game. You know what the Championship is like.

“I know I can't do three games a week. However, I'm still fit and I like to think I can still perform at this level.”

Teammates talk of his influence in the Rotherham camp and he's happy with his role as an elder statesman.

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“I'd say I probably am a leader, just because I'm the oldest and I've got a lot of experience behind me,” he said. “The lads can come to me and talk to me and I can tell them things.”

Having missed nearly two months early in the campaign because of calf trouble, he returned to the first-team frame at the end of September.

He remains a very solid citizen in the backline and the Millers have been harder to break down when they have been able to call on his toughness, know-how and ability to keep mistakes out of his game.

“One thing in my career that I've always been good at is knowing what I'm good at, if that makes sense,” he said. “I've never tried to complicate anything.

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“I think the longevity of a career is down to consistency as well as looking after yourself.”

He's seeking to add plenty more matches to his 11 outings so far in this campaign between now and May ... and after that?

“Everything good comes to an end,” he said. “It will be something I'll be thinking about, but I don't know yet.”