Karen Carney to retire from football after England's World Cup game against Sweden
By Blake Welton
Last Updated: 05/07/19 2:41pm
Karen Carney will retire from football after England's World Cup third-place game against Sweden this weekend.
The Chelsea and England midfielder has had a distinguished career, making a goalscoring international debut in a 4-1 win over Italy in 2005 before going on to earn 143 caps and scoring 32 goals for the Lionesses.
The Solihull-born playmaker started at hometown side Birmingham, before moving on to Arsenal where she won a memorable quadruple in the 2006/07 season.
A spell in the United States with Chicago Red Stars followed before returning to Birmingham in time to score the winning penalty in the 2012 FA Women's Cup Final shoot-out defeat of Chelsea, the team she would join in 2015.
She won the player of the year award in her first full season at the west London club and was part of the 2017/18 double-winning squad - despite an injury-hit campaign.
The 31-year-old will go down as one of England's all-time greats, playing in nine consecutive major tournaments (four World Cups, four European Championships and the 2012 Olympics) a record for an England player male or female which also led to her being awarded an MBE in January 2017.
She won a bronze medal at the 2015 World Cup in Canada and helped Phil Neville's squad to win the SheBelieves Cup in the United States earlier this year and will be hoping to sign off her career with another bronze medal in Nice on Saturday.
On the announcement, Carney said: "I am incredibly proud to have achieved so much in the game but now is definitely the right time to retire.
"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.
"I would 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."
Phil Neville, England head coach, said: "Karen deserves all the plaudits that will come her way.
"It has 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."
'I'll play my best team against Sweden'
Despite calls for boss Phil Neville to start Carney against the Swedes, the England Women's boss insisted that although she would feature 'at some point', he would still pick his best side.
"I have a full squad to choose from and apart from Millie Bright who is suspended, it will be the strongest possible team," Neville said.
"I want to win this game and send a message to my team that this game is important.
"We do have certain positions we have to freshen up but we want to go away from this World Cup with something to show for the hard work we've put in.
"Six wins and one defeat sounds better than five wins and two defeats and I don't want to finish the tournament on two defeats."