Julio Arca (C) with Dean Whitehead (L) during their time with Sunderland

Former Sunderland midfielder’s Dean Whitehead and Julio Arca have both retired from football, it has been announced.

Whitehead, who made 185 league appearances for the Black Cats, released a statement on Twitter calling time on his 19-year career.

He said: “I have played at some fantastic clubs over my career and am proud of all my achievements.

“Thanks to everyone who believed in my and most importantly the fans, who have been with me throughout the highs and lows of my career.”

Joining Sunderland from Oxford United in 2004, Whitehead was a key player in two separate promotions from the Championship, and won the Players Player of the Season Award in 2005.

He remained at the Stadium of Light for five years, before leaving for Stoke. He also played for another North-East side in Middlesbrough, before rounding off his career at Huddersfield.

Argentinian Arca was signed by Peter Reid from Argentinos Juniors in 2000 and made 157 league appearances for the club, scoring 17 goals.

A fan-favourite during his time on Wearside, he stayed in the North-East even after leaving the club in 2006, going on to play for Middlesbrough, Sunday league side Willow Pond and finally South Shields, with who he gained promotion this season.

In a statement released by South Shields, Mariners chairman Geoff Thompson said: “Julio has been an inspirational figure since joining the club almost three years ago.

“He has played a key role in transforming the club’s fortunes and provided some unforgettable moments, and we cannot thank him enough for his incredible efforts.”