Karen Carney: England and Chelsea midfielder to retire after Sweden match

Karen Carney

Karen Carney (right) was part of the England team to win a bronze medal at the 2015 World Cup

England and Chelsea midfielder Karen Carney will retire from club and international football on Sunday after a career that has included reaching two Women’s World Cup semi-finals.

The 31-year-old made her senior debut for Birmingham aged 14, and went on to play in four World Cups for England and the 2012 Olympics for Great Britain.

She made her England debut in 2005 and has won 143 caps and scored 32 goals.

“I am incredibly proud to have achieved so much in the game,” she said.

“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.”

Carney, who is the longest-serving member of England’s World Cup squad, has made three substitute appearances in France as Phil Neville’s team reached the semi-finals. They now face a third-place play-off against Sweden on Saturday.

She also was part of the 2015 World Cup squad which finished third in Canada. Only Reading midfielder Fara Williams (170) has more international caps for England.

The FA said Carney’s service for club and country would be recognised at a future international fixture.

Neville 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.”

After her first of two spells at her hometown club Birmingham City, she was part of the Arsenal team who won an unprecedented quadruple in the 2006-07 season.

A spell in the United States with Chicago Red Stars followed before she returned to Birmingham to score the winning penalty in the 2012 FA Women’s Cup final shoot-out victory over Chelsea, a 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.

Baroness Campbell, director of women’s football at The FA, 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.”

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