Karen Carney has announced she will call time on her playing career when England’s Women’s Women Cup campaign ends on Saturday.
Carney, the Chelsea midfielder, has decided to retire when Lionesses finish their tournament with a clash against Sweden to determine the third-place side.
Now 31, Carney, who played for Birmingham, Arsenal and Chincago Red Stars before joining Chelsea in 2015, says it’s time to do something else.
“I am incredibly proud to have achieved so much in the game but now is definitely the right time to retire,” said Carney, who will hope to win her 142nd England cap in Saturday’s clash with Sweden.
A scorer of 32 international goals, Carney also represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics and won bronze at the 2015 World Cup with England, as well as lifting this year’s SheBelieves Cup.
“To have played for England was my ultimate ambition and to do so at four World Cups and represent Team GB at a home Olympics was beyond the wildest dreams I had when first starting out,” she added.
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“I’d like to thank everyone who has made this all possible from my family and friends, everyone I have played for and worked with and, of course, the England squad and staff. I owe everything I have to all of them.”
England manager Phil Neville added: “Karen deserves all the plaudits that will come her way. It’s been a privilege to work with her over the past 18 months, but even more special has been the chance to get to know someone who is an incredible person and a special team-mate.
“While she will not want a fuss, Karen is someone who deserves total recognition and respect as a true legend of the game.”
The Football Association has plans to honour Carney at a future international.
Only Fara Williams has won more England caps than Carney, and Baroness Sue Campbell, the FA’s women’s director, said: “Karen will be regarded as one of English football’s great names. Her humility, despite all she has achieved on the world stage, is one of many endearing qualities.
“She’s played a huge part in the Lionesses’ incredible progress on the pitch and the inspirational impact the squad has had off it.
“I know Karen will be much missed by everyone at Chelsea and England, but I’m certain she’ll stay in the game as she has so much to offer.
“She’ll always be welcome at Wembley and St George’s Park and it’s right and proper that we mark Karen’s wonderful career in a fitting way in the months to come. We’re all so very proud of her.”