Teammates of Jack Clifford have been paying their respects to the 27-year-old Harlequins and England flanker after he announced his retirement from the game through injury. 

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Having come through the academy at Quins, Clifford forged a career on the professional ranks that has now ground to a permanent halt after he was unable to overcome a shoulder injury sustained in his 100th club appearance last September, the last of a catalogue of injuries for the loose forward. 

Former Wales and British and Irish Lions centre Jamie Roberts, who played at the Stoop for three years, described Clifford as “one of the best I’ve had the pleasure of playing with”. 

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Meanwhile, his Quins and England back row partner Chris Robshaw labelled his retirement a “huge loss for club and country”. 

Fellow Harlequin Joe Marler also shared the definition of the term ‘cannon fodder’ on Twitter in his typical oblique fashion, which ties in with many issues that have been raised by those in the game regarding player welfare and the strain that it is putting on bodies throughout careers. 

Clifford earned ten caps for England between 2016 and 2017, seven of which were alongside Robshaw, and he was victorious in all of those fixtures. 

Capable of playing across the back row, he was part of the new generation of players brought through by Eddie Jones having starred for England when they won the 2013 U20 World Cup. 

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Players and fans alike have been commenting on social media in the wake of the announcement on how this is yet another player who had a promising career cut short by injury. The shoulder problem was only the latest instalment in a series of setbacks that dramatically curtailed Clifford’s progress on the Test scene. 

Although primarily a flanker by trade, Jones used Clifford as a No8 on two occasions for England in order to make full use of his dynamism on the ball. 

He was a player that was held in high regard by the England coach and would have been part of his plans had he not been hampered by injury so severely.

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