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Ex-Oxford, Pompey, Charlton, Plymouth and Bristol Rovers defender retires – aged just 24

An ex-Oxford, Pompey, Charlton, Plymouth and Bristol Rovers defender retires – aged just 24 years old, leaving many fans shocked on social media.

The full-back, Tareiq Holmes-Dennis, started his football career at the Addicks and progressed through the club’s academy ranks. In October 2013, he signed his first professional contract, a three-year deal.

He then had three spells out on loan across 2014, 2015 and 2016, with the U’s, Argyle and Oldham, making 41 appearances in total, scoring once in the time too. Whilst with Charlton, he made 12 appearances.

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On the 24th of August 2016, Holmes-Dennis joined Championship side Huddersfield Town on a three-year deal. After a season of sporadic appearances for Huddersfield, which ended in the Terriers achieving promotion to the Premier League, Holmes-Dennis joined Portsmouth on a season-long loan deal, Pompey having just returned to League One after a four-year absence.

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Holmes-Dennis started the first game of the season, at home to Rochdale, at left-back; unfortunately he suffered an injury after just 39 minutes of his competitive debut and had to be substituted.

On 23 July 2018, Holmes-Dennis joined Bristol Rovers for an undisclosed fee, where he met up with his new teammates at their training camp in Holland. He made his first start for the club in a 2–1 away defeat to Sunderland and scored his first goal for the club on Boxing Day in a 3–1 victory over Walsall.

But while he has spent the last two years playing sparingly for Rovers, Holmes-Dennis has now revealed that a knee injury he suffered on his debut for Portsmouth while on loan from the Terriers was more serious than was generally known and has now caused him to call time on his career.

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1 year ago today since everything got slapped on pause , easily the hardest 12 months I’ve faced. The physical challenges were the easy bit the psychological challenges were the hardest and football completely aside ; I can say with my chest how important it is to feed your mind everyday with positive thoughts and positive energy it really makes all the difference. A small perspective shift can change the whole course of your day. People probably got sick of listening to me but get them emotions of your chest ? keeping it in makes you no stronger… fact!! I’m no preacher but if 1 benefits from this msg I’ll be happy !! I’m almost Match fit and can’t wait to attack the season and get back doing what I do best ? ⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️

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He wrote on Instagram: “Can’t believe I’m even writing this. I didn’t even wanna post anything and just crack on but I feel I owe it to the people that have helped me chase a dream that I was able to make a reality.

“After injuring my knee at Portsmouth over three years ago, which at the time I saw as a minor setback, I was ready to attack my rehab head on and never once did it cross my mind that it would actually affect my career.

“The dream never changes, but the people that have followed my career and know me personally would be aware that I’ve never recovered from that injury.

“Almost every day for the past three years, pain, swelling etc, but it’s never going to be public knowledge.

“Specialists told me to stop playing well over a year ago, but I didn’t care because I only had one vision and goal in mind. I didn’t believe someone could tell me to stop.

“Anyway, I count myself as one of the lucky ones. I managed to get to a level I can be proud of, played over 100 games from League Two to the Championship, gained promotion to the Premier League and met some of the best people and gained friends for life. Represented some great clubs in Charlton, Huddersfield, Portsmouth, Plymouth and Oxford.

“Most importantly though for me…the people that allowed me to reach any type of level and support me relentlessly from 5 years of age all the way though.

“My parents, grandparents, close friends and my agent Kev. Coaches such as Steve Avory, Jason Euell and the physios that tried their best to help me, Liam, Callum, Matt and Rayan. All played a huge part in my journey which I’ll be eternally grateful for.

“Time to see what life there is away from the ball and approach it with the same energy I had for the game.”


2013–2016 – Charlton Athletic – 12 games (0 goals)
2014–2015 → Oxford United (loan) – 14 games (0 goals)
2015 → Plymouth Argyle (loan) – 17 games (1 goal)
2016 → Oldham Athletic (loan) – 10 games (0 goals)
2016–2018 – Huddersfield Town – 9 games (0 goals)
2017–2018 → Portsmouth (loan) – 1 games (0 goals)
2018–2020 – Bristol Rovers – 22 games (1 goal)
Total – 85 games (2)

National team
2013 – England U18 – 1 games (0 goals)

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