FORMER Newport County AFC academy hotshot Rhys Kavanagh has had to retire from professional football because of injury.

The striker came through the ranks at the Exiles and scored 28 goals in 32 appearances to help the Under-18s win the EFL Youth Alliance Merit League One.

His exploits led to Bristol Rovers to snap him up in August 2017 after agreeing compensation with the Rodney Parade club.

Kavanagh impressed for the development side and the 21-year-old had spells on loan at Hungerford, Bath City and Gloucester City but was hindered by injury and has now been released.

"Big thanks to Bristol Rovers Football Club for the last three years," he wrote on Twitter.

"I would like to thank all the coaches and players for making my time there enjoyable.

"A special thanks to Chris Hargreaves, who got me to the the club and made by childhood dream come true and pushed me to the limit.

"Sad/gutted to be retiring from professional football due to injury.

"This injury has occured for the last five years, which has been a pain and has affected me at other clubs.

"Hoping and wishing to get this injury sorted for good and return to playing football at the highest level I can (non-league).

"My journey's far from over and I will do whatever I can to get back fit."