Shaun Ainscough reveals future plans

Josh McAllister
Shaun Ainscough

Photo courtesy of Jackie Meredith and Rochdale Hornets.

Shaun Ainscough was almost ready to call time on his career at the conclusion of the 2021 season.

However, the popular winger says that he has not officially made his decision just yet as the 2022 campaign edges closer.

Ainscough began his career at Wigan, receiving jersey number 28 in his debut season with the Warriors. The winger, who marked his Super League debut with a try against Castleford in 2009, went on to make 13 appearances for the side.

He spent time with both Widnes and Castleford on loan while at the Warriors, before making the permanent switch to Bradford for the 2011 campaign.

The Wigan-born player has gone on to appear for Whitehaven, Batley and Rochdale, where he was appointed club captain in 2020. 

He was released by Rochdale at the conclusion of the 2021 campaign, but is yet to decide on his future. 

Shaun Ainscough began his professional career at Wigan Warriors.

“I’ve given my life to rugby”

“As most players do, I’ve given my life to rugby,” he said.

“I just need a rest. I’ve never had this long off in my life. I’m just enjoying spending time with my kids while I can. 

“For me, I will miss it more and more eventually and I knew it would come to that which is why I never officially announced a retirement. 

“I was going to do it (retire) straight away after 2021, but it’s now got to a point where I’m missing it. 

“Personally, I have nothing in line and I’ve not spoken to any clubs about rugby. I’ve only really spoken to amateur clubs, including St Judes and I’ve done that because I’ve always wanted to play with my brother, Ryan, and he’s at St Judes. I’ve always wanted that.

“I was leaning towards retirement after 2021, but I never released it. I needed some time off and then I knew not to make any drastic decisions. 

The winger joined Bradford ahead of the 2011 season.

“At the minute, I’m retired as such”

“Now I’m glad I didn’t, but I still might do and only time will tell. At the minute, I’m retired as such. I haven’t started gym just yet as I’ve currently got Covid. I just need that hunger again and I need something to motivate me to get back into it. 

“When I see everyone playing and all your mates out there, and when I’m watching it, I think I’ll miss it. I think I kind of took it for granted after Covid. It would have been the same with a lot of other players.

“You only realise once you stop how much more you should have done. I think last season with Covid, testing, could we train or not and things like that, it felt like a long season. It was weird and I can’t really explain it.”

Ainscough made his 200th career appearances against Barrow last season in the League 1 campaign, while he scored his 100th try at Blackpool’s Summer Bash in 2019.

While the decision to retire officially from the professional sport is still a question on the mind for Ainscough, he admits new opportunities could tempt the experienced man back into the game. 

“I’m a bit of a character”

“If the right club came knocking, I would want time to get fit first and then decide after that,” he said. 

“I don’t want to embarrass myself. I want to make sure I’m fully committed, fully fit and going to the gym regularly. If a team asked me to go back now and play in two weeks, I’d have to say no. 

“Everywhere I go, people know how I am. I’m a bit of a character and a bit different. I’m my own person and enjoy doing my own thing. I miss being around all the lads, but yet again I’m having that time at home I’ve never been able to have. 

“I’ve just started a new job recently, working in gardens and getting my hands dirty. I enjoy that, and it’s Monday to Friday. If I did get somewhere, I could be fully committed, which is something I haven’t been able to do in recent times due to an old job. 

“I just want to see how it is. I need to focus on myself, get fit and to start going after my isolation. I’m going to start getting back into it and possibly post my progress on my social media. Something might happen in pre-season, but I will just focus on myself.”

READ MORE: Cornwall RLFC confirm third signing for 2022 campaign