Karen Carney to retire

Karen Carney of England leaves the team hotel. (Photo: Lynne Cameron for The FA)

Karen Carney has announced her retirement from football to bring to an end a distinguished career for club and country.

The Chelsea and England midfielder will sign off after the Lionesses conclude their 2019 FIFA World Cup campaign against Sweden in Nice on Saturday, reports TheFA,com.

On the eve of the third-place play-off, 31-year-old Carney believes the time is right to look for a new challenge and her service will be commemorated at a forthcoming international.

An England centurion – she won her 100th cap against Germany at Wembley in November 2014 – Carney will go down in history as one of England’s all-time greats, an accolade underlined by being made an MBE in January 2017.

Karen Carney receives her 100th cap at Wembley Stadium. (The FA via Getty Images)

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.

Overall, she picked up 143 caps and scored 32 goals – having made a goalscoring debut in a 4-1 defeat of Italy in 2005.

“I am incredibly proud to have achieved so much in the game but now is definitely the right time to retire,” said Carney.

“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 was part of Arsenal’s quadruple-winning team, scored an FA Cup Final winner for Birmingham City and did the double with Chelsea.

Phil Neville, England head coach, 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.”

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