Friend lands Rovers role after retiring

Former Middlesbrough defender George Friend has retired and been named Bristol Rovers’ director of football.

Friend joined Rovers last summer and made 12 appearances for the Sky Bet League One club before he decided to call time on his playing career at the age of 36.

Friend represented Exeter, Wolves, Doncaster, Birmingham and Middlesbrough, where he spent eight years, during a distinguished career that resulted in him playing in the top five divisions of English football.

After consultation with Rovers boss Matt Taylor and the club board, Friend has immediately taken on the role of director of football with Chris Spendlove also promoted from chief scout to head of recruitment.

“I’ve learnt something from every single person on my journey. I want to thank all those who helped me achieve more than I could have ever imagined. Team-mates, staff, managers, owners and fans,” Friend said in a statement.

“A special mention has to be given to Middlesbrough FC. What I achieved, felt and experienced there was more than football.

“I now remain determined and ambitious to succeed in my role here at Rovers. It is where I started my footballing journey as a youngster, and it feels very apt that it’s where I will finish playing.”