READING FC former players and supporters have been paying tribute to Kevin Doyle following his retirement due to persistent headaches.

The 34-year-old Irishman, who remains one of Royals greatest ever signings, is hanging up his boots on medical advice following a series of concussions.

The Colorado Rapids star says heading the ball has become “problematic” and that he is not prepared to risk long-term damage.

Doyle made the announcement on Twitter, saying: “I am sad to announce that after listening to medical advice I will play no further part this season and will be retiring.

“This year it has been clear to me that heading the ball was becoming problematic and causing me to have repeated headaches.

“Two concussions this season and numerous others over the years have made this more concerning.

“After consulting with experts in this field, it has been decided that to avoid the possibility of these symptoms becoming more serious and permanent, I will be hanging up my boots for good.”

Local Berkshire:

Kevin Doyle shares a joke with Royals midfielder Stephen Quinn while on Republic of Ireland duty. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire.

Doyle played a key role during Reading’s most successful ever spell under Steve Coppell and was a mainstay of the record-breaking team that won the 2005/06 Championship title with 106 points.

Former Reading and Republic of Ireland striker Noel Hunt called him a 'great player and a great guy.'

Shane Long, who moved to Reading with Doyle from Cork City in 2005, said 'What a career and proud I got to be part of it with you.'

Royals fan Joshua Lamb suggested a statue of Doyle should be erected outside the Madejski Stadium.

Reading supporter Paul Tanner added: 'Enjoy your retirement. Thanks for the memories."

Doyle was a mere teenager with a handful of Cork City appearances under his belt when Royals bought him for £78,000 in a buy-one-get-one-free deal with Shane Long thrown in back in summer 2005.

He rattled in 56 goals in 163 appearances over the next four years at Madejski Stadium and was a mainstay in Steve Coppell’s side that secured promotion to the top flight in 2006 for the first time in the club’s history, with 19 goals that season.

He then grabbed 15 goals during Royals’ maiden Premier League campaign including a memorable double in a 6-0 home win over West Ham on New Year’s Day 2007, plus another two in a superb 3-1 comeback victory at Bolton.

His all-action displays also saw him become a regular place in the Republic of Ireland side.

But when Reading failed to win promotion back to the top flight in 2008/09 following relegation the previous year, he was sold to Wolves for a club-record £6.5m.

He made 179 appearances for the Molineux club scoring 33 goals before moving to the United States in summer 2015 to join Colorado Rapids in the MLS.

He netted 12 times in 52 games for the Rapids before announcing his retirement last week.

Doyle won 63 international caps for his country and the Football Association of Ireland is now planning to honour the forward’s contribution.

“We would like to pay tribute to Kevin at the Aviva Stadium for his immense contribution to Irish football, at a time that is appropriate for him,” said FAI chief executive John Delaney, who described Doyle as "one of the most hard-working and dedicated players to have represented the Republic of Ireland" and "one of the great Irish goalscorers of all time, who gave everything for his country."

Below is Doyle statement on his retirement in full.