Former England captain Michael Vaughan insists Andrew Flintoff should not give up hope of making a return to first class cicket.
The Lancashire all-rounder was hoping to be back in action this week following knee surgery, but has been forced to abandon his latest comeback attempt.
He will not now play this season, raising serious doubts about the possibility of him being fit enough to travel to Australia this winter as part of England’s one-day and Twenty20 squad.
But Vaughan says Freddie should not call time on his career just yet.
He told talkSPORT: “It’s sad and it will be very upsetting for Fred because he has been working really hard in rehab.
“But I think he should try to get some cricket in this winter. I do think he should try to get out there and not call it a day just yet, but he’ll need to be patient.”
Vaughan is in the ideal position to advise Flintoff, having defied medical advice to prolong his own playing career following a long injury lay-off. But he knows the battle his former team-mate is facing to return to action.
“I know what he’s going through because I had the same injury and exactly the same operation and it takes a lot of time,” added Vaughan.
“It takes a lot of patience because just when you think you’re going to play, it flares up again. He will be feeling pain and he’ll also feel very restricted in his movement.
“After I had the operation it took nine to 12 months before I could move properly on the cricket field.
“And although I never admitted it, for the last two years of my career I was probably only 85 per cent, but I just had this drive to get back onto a cricket pitch.
“I was forver taking tablets and having injections and I don’t think Freddie really needs to be doing that considering he’s had that many injections in his ankles.
“He’ll end up in really bad shape if he carries on like that, so it could be career threatening at this stage of his career.”