Arsenal academy product and one-time Aston Villa midfielder Henri Lansbury has just retired from football aged only 32 years old to focus on his surprising new career path.

Lansbury came through the ranks in north London as a part of Arsenal’s famed Hale End set-up. The midfielder first joined the Gunners’ academy aged nine in 1999 on schoolboy terms. He would go on to enjoy his senior debut in 2007 in a 3-0 EFL Cup win over Sheffield United.

First-team games proved hard to come by at Emirates Stadium for the Enfield-born maestro. But Lansbury can forever recall scoring at White Hart Lane in his only senior start as Arsenal beat Tottenham Hotspur in the EFL Cup. He opened the scoring in a 4-1 win at 19 years old.

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Henri Lansbury enjoyed a promotion-winning Championship career

Chances under Arsene Wenger seldom arrived at Lansbury’s doors, though. So, the former England youth captain joined Norwich City on loan for the 2010/11 season. He would help the Canaries seal promotion to the Premier League following spells at Scunthorpe and Watford.

Another promotion-winning stint in the Championship followed during 2011/12 as Lansbury helped West Ham United to an immediate top-flight return. But Nottingham Forest ended a 13-year association with Arsenal in August 2012 after signing Lansbury with a £1m transfer.

Lansbury spent five years at the City Ground before joining Aston Villa. Yet life at Villa Park would not better his Reds career having featured 150 times for Nottingham Forest. While a brief stint at Bristol City in 2021 led Lansbury to Luton Town where he won promotion, too.

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Henri Lansbury retires after the Arsenal product’s injury-hit Luton stint

Lansbury was a firm fixture of the Luton side that reached the Championship play-offs in the 2021/22 campaign. But a thigh injury which resulted in an operation to cut the nerves in his leg meant he only featured 10 times as the Hatters went on to win the play-offs in 2022/23.

The central midfielder returned for one final appearance on the final day of the regular term against Hull City. But Lansbury has now retired, with the former Arsenal and Aston Villa star focusing on a surprising new career in pitch maintenance through his company Grass Gains.

“It came about during the first lockdown when I was stuck at home and got into gardening,” Lansbury told talkSPORT. “I started to spray my weeds with toxic stuff and put toxic fertiliser down. And my missus wasn’t too happy about the kids running on the grass straight after.

“I was trying to usher them off and she said, ‘Why can’t they just make an organic fertiliser?’ I put my head together with my mate and me and the boys have cracked on and taken it to another level. We’ve done Fulham, we’ve done Genk and we’re in at Monaco soon.

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Henri Lansbury is now focusing on his surprising new career path

“We’re going in the right direction. A few local clubs have asked for it and we’ve put it down on their pitches, as well. I want to give back to the local clubs really, I want them to have a nice pitch to play on. There’s nothing better than a kid running on a pitch with stripes on it.”

Lansbury is also taking his product into the household scene with a meeting with Homebase scheduled for next week. Grass Gains is firmly his full-time focus today rather than forcing a return to football. An injury may have closed one door but Lansbury is forcing another open.