Former Fulham striker Barry Hayles is still playing aged 46 for non league Windsor FC

EX-FULHAM star Barry Hayles may now be 46, but age hasn't deterred the burly striker from doing what he loves – lacing up his boots and playing football.

"I've always said I would've retired a long time ago, but the phone's kept ringing and people have been asking if I could play just one more season," he said.

Former Fulham striker Barry Hayles is still playing aged 46 for non league Windsor FC21 Barry Hayles is still playing at the age of 46

A Craven Cottage hero, he helped the West London side achieve two promotions in three seasons between 1999 to 2001 – scoring 44 goals in 175 games.

Today, Hayles still has an uncanny knack of finding the back of the net – albeit at a much lower level.

Away from the glitz and glamour of performing at Premier League stadiums like Old Trafford, he's now turning out at Stag Meadow in front of a few hundred fans for Hellenic League Premier Division Windsor FC.

Last week Hayles played the full 90 minutes against Binfield FC – a game that ended 1-1 with the Lambeth-born forward failing to get on the scoresheet.

Former Fulham striker Barry Hayles is still playing aged 46 for non league Windsor FC21 Hayles now turns out for non league Windsor FC
Former Fulham striker Barry Hayles is still playing aged 46 for non league Windsor FCJamie McPhilimey – The Sun21 Barry Hayles leads out Windsor FC and Hayles against Binfield FC at Stag Meadow
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But, as he told us, Hayles is happy just to be getting a runout again after returning from a six-month injury lay off.

"I think it's the desire, first and foremost, to keep playing," he revealed.

"It's been difficult for me this season because at the start I was injured, and I've only just come back.

"I was looking at myself thinking, 'Am I ever going to play again?'

"Hopefully I can play the rest of the season and perhaps even longer after that."

Former Fulham striker Barry Hayles is still playing aged 46 for non league Windsor FC21 Hayles played the full 90 minutes in Windsor FC's 1-1 draw with Binfield FC
Former Fulham striker Barry Hayles is still playing aged 46 for non league Windsor FCJamie McPhilimey – The Sun21 Even after 28 years in the game, Hayles still loves playing football

Hayles joined The Royalists as a player-coach in 2017. He played 38 games last season, registering 12 goals.

It's not uncommon for him to play three times a week.

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"If I played on a Saturday, I'll be fine for a midweek game," Hayles said.

"Last season we had a backlog of games we played Monday, Thursday and Saturday and I played in all of them.

Former Fulham striker Barry Hayles is still playing aged 46 for non league Windsor FCJamie McPhilimey – The Sun21 Hayles told SunSport it's not uncommon for him to play up to three games a week
Former Fulham striker Barry Hayles is still playing aged 46 for non league Windsor FCJamie McPhilimey – The Sun21 Two years ago Hayles decided in joining Windsor as a player/coach

"I had no time to recover, to be honest, but I think it's better to play games than to train. Nothing beats game-time fitness-wise."

That's why when most footballers have got their feet up, sunning themselves at a luxury resort, Hayles has spent his last four summers playing in the Seniors World Cup in Thailand for England.

But while that Asian jolly might give the target man a more scenic experience, he's brought down to earth by his day job and some of the changing rooms he frequents for Windsor FC.

He laughed: "One ground we went to in the FA Vase, the changing room was literally a box and all the windows were smashed in.

Former Fulham striker Barry Hayles is still playing aged 46 for non league Windsor FCJamie McPhilimey – The Sun21 Hayles joked that the standard of changing rooms in non league football aren't what he was used to
Former Fulham striker Barry Hayles is still playing aged 46 for non league Windsor FCJamie McPhilimey – The Sun21 Recalling one experience playing in the FA Vase, he remembered getting changed in an away changing room which had smashed windows

"It was raining and the rain was coming in to the dressing room. It was a bit of a shock to the system.

"A few of my teammates joked with me that they bet this wasn't like the away changing rooms at Old Trafford, and I had to agree!"

A healthy diet has helped Hayles maintain his fitness levels.

He eats mostly protein, and never late at night.

He credits former manager Jean Tigana with inspiring him to think about what he was putting into his body.

Former Fulham striker Barry Hayles is still playing aged 46 for non league Windsor FC21 Hayles admitted he's conscious of his diet
Former Fulham striker Barry Hayles is still playing aged 46 for non league Windsor FC21 That's why Hayles tends to eat mainly protein and allows himself just one cheat day

"I tend to eat healthily – six days of the seven a week," he revealed.

"I'm quite lucky that I've maintained my weight while I've been out injured and I tend to eat a lot of protein now.

"When Tigana came to Fulham, he saw what I was eating and said when I stop playing I'll have a belly like a bowling ball.

"So he encouraged me and the players I played with to eat a lot differently.

"I eat a bigger breakfast, but tend to eat less now later at night."

Former Fulham striker Barry Hayles is still playing aged 46 for non league Windsor FCJamie McPhilimey – The Sun21 Hayles played 38 times for Windsor FC last season, scoring a credible 12 goals
Former Fulham striker Barry Hayles is still playing aged 46 for non league Windsor FCJamie McPhilimey – The Sun21 Hayles is often getting quizzed by his Windsor FC teammates who want to know all about his life as a Premier League star

Having sampled the bright lights of the Premier League, Hayles' Windsor FC teammates are often in awe of their talisman's past.

"They always ask me who the best player I ever played with was," he said.

"Also, because I play with a lot of Manchester United and Arsenal fans, they all ask me what it was like to play against those teams."

And being starstuck isn't just reserved for Windsor's first team.

Hayles can often find himself the target for some crude challenges from opposition players who want to leave their studs on a former Premier League pro.

Former Fulham striker Barry Hayles is still playing aged 46 for non league Windsor FCJamie McPhilimey – The Sun21 While opposition players often try to kick lumps out of Hayles when he plays
Former Fulham striker Barry Hayles is still playing aged 46 for non league Windsor FC21 Despite all of that, Hayles has a passion for football that can't be denied

"I do get recognised by opposition players, but they don't really say too much to me.

"Some will spend the whole game kicking lumps out of me, which I expect.

"And you can often hear managers from the opposition dugout shouting at their players for not tackling me and showing me too much respect!"

Hayles, who grew up a Tottenham fan, has fond memories of his days at Fulham, where he admitted he enjoyed his best years as a pro.

He recalled his standout moment for the Cottagers – scoring twice at White Hart Lane and setting up a third in a stunning 3-0 win in 2003.

Former Fulham striker Barry Hayles is still playing aged 46 for non league Windsor FCJamie McPhilimey – The Sun21 Hayles said he enjoyed the best years of his career at Fulham
Former Fulham striker Barry Hayles is still playing aged 46 for non league Windsor FCPA:Press Association21 Getting promoted to the Premier League in 2001 was a career highlight for Hayles
Former Fulham striker Barry Hayles is still playing aged 46 for non league Windsor FCPA:Press Association21 Hayles loved scoring against boyhood club Spurs, including in the Worthington Cup in 1999 (pictured) and a brace in the Premier League in 2003

"Winning the Division Two, then Division One to get into the Premier League was probably my greatest achievement as a footballer," Hayles told SunSport.

"Also, I supported Spurs as a kid and probably had my best game at White Hart Lane, scoring twice and setting up the third.

"I didn't celebrate because it was my team, but seeing my name in the paper the next day with a rating of nine was great.

"It was probably the highest rating I ever got!"

Still with a boundless enthusiasm for the game, Hayles is hopeful that he can play on for another season.

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Former Fulham striker Barry Hayles is still playing aged 46 for non league Windsor FC21 Still with an eye for goal, Hayles is hopeful he can make it to 50
Former Fulham striker Barry Hayles is still playing aged 46 for non league Windsor FCJamie McPhilimey – The Sun21 For now, at the age of 46, Hayles is taking it each year as it comes
Former Fulham striker Barry Hayles is still playing aged 46 for non league Windsor FCJamie McPhilimey – The Sun21 Hayles said it depends on Windsor FC if he can play another year or more

And while he may not make it to 50, he's definitely going to give it his best shot.

"For the last 11 years I've said, 'This will be my last season.'

"I think I've got one more in me, but it depends if Windsor FC want me.

"Funny enough, a mate texted me about a Japanese football (Kazuyoshi Miura) getting a year's contract at the age of 51.

"I don't know if I'll be able to play for that long, but let's take it each year as it comes and we'll see where we are."

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