Christian Wade retires from rugby amid NFL transition rumours

Christian Wade has made five Premiership appearances for Wasps this season but is yet to add to his try tally. David Rogers/Getty Images

Christian Wade has retired from rugby union at the age of 27 after Wasps agreed to release him from his contract with the club.

Wade's retirement comes amid rumours that the once-capped England international plans to pursue a career in the NFL. However, neither Wade nor Wasps made reference to the reports in a statement confirming the winger's retirement from rugby.

"After playing nine years of professional sport for Wasps, I've decided to leave for personal reasons," Wade said about his decision.

"I would like to thank Wasps chairman Derek Richardson and Dai [Young, Wasps' director of rugby] for their support, consideration and understanding in what is the most difficult decision of my life.

"I have loved the sport since I was introduced to it at the Royal Grammar School in High Wycombe. I would therefore like to thank everyone who has played a part in shaping my career.

"Rugby has privileged and honoured me with so many wonderful memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life."

Despite his consistent try-scoring form in the Premiership, Wade has regularly been overlooked for the England squad, making a solitary appearance for his country during England's 2013 tour of Argentina.

Should Wade pursue a career in the NFL, he would be following in the footsteps of former England sevens captain Alex Gray, currently signed to the Atlanta Falcons' practice squad, and Christian Scotland-Williamson, who quit Worcester Warriors last year to join the NFL's International Player Pathway. He is currently on the practice squad of the Pittsburgh Steelers.