Tottenham Hotspur defender Dean Richards has been forced to retire due to medical reasons.

Richards has not played for Spurs this season amid reports that he may have a brain tumour.

Fortunately, his condition was not that serious, but Richards had been suffering from an inner ear problem and he was advised by doctors to quit the sport.

“Football has been a huge part of my life and it has been a miserable time for me sitting out this season and awaiting test results,” Richards told the club’s official website.

“I am obviously deeply disappointed to be giving up the sport I love but have discussed the results with my family and my representatives and it is the only choice.

“I should like to thank the club, the medical team and my team-mates for all the support they have given me through this.”

Spurs’ sporting director Frank Arnesen paid tribute to Richards.

Arnesen said: “It is always a sad day when you lose a good player from the game.

“Dean has shown great character through a trying time and I know he was frustrated at his level of play in his last few games, when clearly he was not at his fittest.

“He had some fine moments for Spurs and we all wish him well in the future.”

Richards began his career with Bradford City before moving to Wolves and Southampton before his £8m move to Tottenham.