Christian Wade has left English Rugby union club Wasps in order to pursue a career in the National Football League in America.

27-year-old Wade is dramatically hanging up his rugby union boots for the NFL, leaving the English side with immediate effect. The Wasps winger deciding to leave England for the United States is a remarkable career change.

Christian Wade swaps rugby union for the NFL

The Coventry-based team were without star performer Wade in their latest outing due to illness, where they lost out to Leinster in the Champions Cup last week.

Wasps will now prepare for life without the pace and agility of Wade after his surprising decision to leave for another sport.

The London-born winger leaves rugby union as the third-top Premiership try-scorer with 82 tries. The club is now reportedly closing in on the signing of New Zealand All Black centre Malaki Fekitoa in an attempt to maintain a strong squad for the remainder of the season, however, replacing Wade will not be an easy task.

Wade joins fellow rugby union players in rare career switch

The 27-year-old is not the first rugby union player to venture across the Atlantic for a new challenge offering the highs of American football. Both Christian Scotland-Williamson and Alex Gray are also plying their trade in the US after starting out in rugby union; the former moving from Worcester Warriors to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the latter now at Atlanta Falcons having starred for England Sevens and London Irish.

Having won an England cap and toured with the British and Irish Lions in 2013, Wade is, however, the most prominent and prolific athlete to attempt the switch. It has been reported that this lack of match time with the national team has been the major reason behind the decision.

Wasps refuse to be drawn into speculation regarding Wade's future

While the player is seemingly intent on leaving, the club have released a statement explaining that "they are aware" of the news surrounding their current player, but have refused to comment on the precise nature of the situation.

"Unfortunately, we are unable to make any comment at this time but hope to be able to provide an update in the coming days," says the club.

Wade has, however, been working with a renowned NFL-style partner in the build-up to the season, a footwork coach named Speedy Gonzalez. While on holiday in the United States, Wade released footage of the training he had been receiving, sparking rumours about his future in both rugby union and American football.