ENGLAND and Chelsea star Karen Carney has announced she will retire from football after Saturday’s World Cup third-place play-off against Sweden.
The longest serving member of the current Lionesses squad made her debut for the national team in 2005 and went on to earn 143 caps, scoring 32 goals.
Carney, 31, made three appearances in France this year, coming off the bench on all occasions.
She has played in four World Cups for England and represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Nicknamed “The Wizard”, the skilful winger debuted in senior football at Birmingham, aged just 14.
She then spent three seasons at Arsenal – winning most important domestic titles in each of them alongside a historic Quadruple in 2007.
After a one-year spell in the US, Carney then returned to West Midlands for four more years in 2011 – winning the Women’s FA Cup.
Having been inducted into Birmingham’s Hall of Fame in March 2015, she joined Chelsea where she has spent the last four seasons and won a domestic Double in the 2017/18 campaign.
‘NOTHING LEFT IN THE TANK’
But she claims it is now the right moment to call time on her illustrious career – saying she will miss singing the national anthem the most.
She said: “I am incredibly proud to have achieved so much in the game.
“The thing I’ll miss most is singing the anthem, but also kicking a ball.
“But now is definitely the right time to retire. I don’t think I have any more in the tank.
“I’ve given my heart and soul to club and country, there’s nothing more I can physically or mentally give. I have no regrets.
“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.”
CAR TO WEIGH IN?
Carney is the second most capped Lioness in English football’s history, just behind Reading midfielder Fara Williams with 170.
And Baroness Campbell, director of women’s football at the FA, has claimed the winger will be remembered as one of the country’s greats.
She 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 has 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 am certain she will stay in the game as she has so much to offer.
“She will always be welcome at Wembley and St. George’s Park and it is right and proper that the FA mark Karen’s wonderful career in a fitting way in the months to come.
“We are all so very proud of her.”
While England forward Beth Mead said of Carney: “A player who I looked up massively growing up and still to this day, learnt so much from this wizard.
“Absolute honour to train, play and to call you a team mate. Absolute legend, wish you all the luck in the future.”