‘I think she probably was the best mover as a forward that I’ve ever seen’ – Casey Stoney pays tribute to retiring Lioness Jodie Taylor

England's Jodie Taylor retitres
(Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Casey Stoney has paid tribute to the career of Jodie Taylor following the retirement of her former England teammate.

Taylor announced last Thursday that she was stepping away from playing, after a career that saw the forward win 51 caps for the Lionesses (scoring 19 goals), as well as lifting the UEFA Women’s Champions League with Lyon in 2020. Stoney was a teammate of Taylor’s at the 2015 World Cup and UEFA Women’s EURO 2017, and with Arsenal and Lincoln Ladies in the WSL.

Having also coached her last year at the NWSL’s San Diego Wave, Stoney offered a sincere assessment as she fielded a question from She Kicks in her weekly press conference: “Jodie’s an incredible testament to ‘every journey looks different,’ that there is no (one) way to get to the top, and that actually sometimes, you might get there and it might take a little bit longer for you to get there.”

An FA Cup winner with Birmingham City in 2012, Taylor followed an unconventional route at club level, with time also in the United States, Canada, Australia, Sweden and France. She did not make her England debut until August 2014, when the then-28-year-old started the 4-0 friendly victory over Sweden in Hartlepool.

She would play a significant role in the following year’s World Cup, helping the Lionesses on their way to a bronze medal as she opened the scoring in the 2-1 quarter-final win over hosts Canada, in front of over 54,000 in Vancouver. The former Washington Spirit and Portland Thorns striker was then Golden Boot winner (with five goals) at EURO 2017, providing the decisive finish as the Lionesses finally overcame old foes France to triumph 1-0 and reach the semi-finals in the Netherlands.

(Left to right) England’s Karen Carney, Jodie Taylor, Beth Mead, Fran Kirby and Alex Greenwood at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Photo: Lynne Cameron for The FA

Her hat-trick in the opening group game, a 6-0 against Scotland, made her the first female England player to net a treble at a major tournament.

“I think Jodie was very principled; she played for England when it was right for her to play for England,” Stoney added. “I think she probably was the best mover as a forward that I’ve ever seen, in terms of smartness, and her ability to break backlines with her movement was unbelievable.”

Lyon’s Lucy Bronze and Jodie Taylor pose with the UEFA Women’s Champions League trophy after the win over Wolfsburg in the 2020 final. Photo: Daniela Porcelli/SPP

In what transpired to be the last of her three major tournaments, Taylor added the winner against Argentina in the group phase at 2019’s World Cup in France, as England went on to reach another semi-final. In silverware terms, the pinnacle of her club career came with Lyon in August 2020, coming off the bench as the French side beat Wolfsburg 3-1 in San Sebastián.

Taylor, 37, brought the curtain down on over two decades in senior football with a spell back at former team Arsenal last season, joining the Gunners for a second time in March. Stoney believes that the path taken to the top by the former England Player of the Year (2017) will stand as an example to anyone.

“I thought she contributed to the women’s game immensely, and especially to the national team. I think she can be extremely proud of her career, extremely proud of what she achieved, and just showing people that if you keep persevering, and you genuinely believe in your end goal, it might take a little bit longer to get there, but you can definitely get there.”


Upcoming Events

Would you like to read more women’s football news just like this? Sign up to receive the She Kicks Women’s Football newsletter