England midfielder Carney to retire after Women's World Cup

Experienced England international Karen Carney will retire from football following the Women's World Cup.

Karen Carney is to retire after the Women's World Cup   -  Getty Images

Karen Carney will call time on her playing career following England's third-place play-off against Sweden in the Women's World Cup.

Carney has featured in three of England's World Cup matches in France, although she is yet to start heading into the Lionesses' final match.

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And the 31-year-old playmaker, who scored one goal in 14 WSL matches for Chelsea last term, has now confirmed she will be retiring following Saturday's match in Nice.

"I've probably known for quite a while now," Carney said. "My mind still wants to do everything and it still can, but I don't think my body can anymore.

"My mind would want to continue until I was 100, but at some point your body tells you enough is enough and I think I've got to that point. I feel I've given my heart and soul for the clubs I've played for, and especially my country.

"I don't think there's anything more I could physically or mentally give and I don't have any regrets with how that has happened.

"I think probably a career highlight would be when I told my mum when I was 11 that I would play for England, and then at 17 doing it."

"I am incredibly proud to have achieved so much in the game but now is definitely the right time to retire," Carney, who won 143 full international caps and scored 32 goals, said in a statement released via the Football Association's official website.

"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'd 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."

Having started at Birmingham City - where she returned later in her career - Carney also enjoyed spells at Arsenal and Chicago Red Stars.

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England coach Phil Neville said: "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.

Neville did not pick Carney in his early squads after being appointed last year, as she was injured.

"Then I was on holiday when I got a text from one of my players. It was Karen, saying, 'I'm going to go to the World Cup, watch this space', type thing," he said. "I thought, 'I quite like that, quite cheeky'.

"To give an example of what kind of professional Karen is ... we have the option of some players going to training early.

"We call it individual development plans and there was only one player that went early yesterday and that was Karen Carney.

"A player that was two days away from kicking her last ball actually still went down to the pitch to practise her skill before everybody else got there."

"While she will not want a fuss, Karen is someone who deserves total recognition and respect as a true legend of the game."

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