KEVIN Ellison is leaving Newport County AFC after turning down a coaching role in favour of playing on at the age of 43.

The veteran midfielder signed a fresh one-year contract last summer to remain at Rodney Parade, balancing his playing duties with a role with the development squad.

The 43-year-old made 15 appearances in all competitions for in the 2021/22 season, racking up just 163 minutes in League Two.

He suffered a serious facial injury in an incident in Bristol in December and since then his only appearance was a brief cameo at Sutton on April 18.

However, Ellison was an influential off-field figure and, after getting his UEFA A licence, was offered a coaching role with the Exiles youngsters.

That would have meant hanging up his boots and the Liverpudlian, who featured in the Premier League for Leicester in 2001 and has played in four decades, isn't yet ready to retire.

South Wales Argus: Kevin Ellison is leaving Newport CountyKevin Ellison is leaving Newport County

"The club offered me the opportunity to go into coaching and after having a break, sitting talking to family and friends, I've decided not to take the option up," Ellison posted on Instagram.

"I really appreciate the offer and it's been a tough decision but it wasn't right for me. Also, I want to try and continue playing (bit-part, even) at 43.

"I still feel fit, hungry, motivated and dedicated – you're a long time retired someone told me – and I still feel I could offer something on the pitch and off it (coaching/mentoring)."

Ellison headed to Newport after frequently being the scourge of County when with Morecambe.

South Wales Argus: Kevin Ellison scored County's winner at Oldham on the opening day of last seasonKevin Ellison scored County's winner at Oldham on the opening day of last season

"Thanks to all you Amber Army fans," he said. "You have been unbelievable with me since I signed in 2020 for the club.

"I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for taking me in as one of your own. We had so many battles before I became one of you.

"Thanks to all the staff past and present, and the players who made my last two seasons at the club an unbelievable journey, the highs and the lows."