Kelly Smith retires: England women's record goalscorer ends international career

Smith scored 46 goals and played in, four European Championships, two World Cups and the London 2012 Olympics

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Kelly Smith, arguably England's greatest ever female player, has retired from international duty after 20 years.

Smith, 36, will continue to play domestic football for Arsenal while undertaking a UEFA B coaching licence.

Smith ends her England career as the record goalscorer for England Women, with 46 goals from 117 caps - she  made her debut against Italy in 1995 aged just 17.

In a glittering England career, Smith played in four European Championships, the 2007 and 2011 World Cups and the London 2012 Olympics.

Smith celebrates one of her 46 England goals

"Playing for England has been such an important part of my life for so long, but I feel now is the right time for me to retire from international football," Smith told the Football Association.

"I'm at a different stage in my life now, I am focusing on coaching and working my way up to get my licences and stay involved in football that way, along with playing for Arsenal.

"Women's football has changed so much since I started playing and I am proud to have been a part of that. I'm pleased that I'll still be working in the game and with The FA in its activities moving forwards.

"I'd like to thank everyone who has supported me in my career, everyone at England and The FA, team-mates, coaches, friends and family.

"This year will be massive for the women's game with the World Cup coming up. There is a huge amount of talent in the England squad and I wish Mark [Sampson] and the team all the best for the tournament."

Smith playing for Great Britain during London 2012

England head coach Mark Sampson said: "Kelly will be remembered as one of the iconic players in the history of the women’s international game.

"The term 'world class' is often overused but when looking back over Kelly’s international career she has consistently shown on the biggest stage she was without a doubt one of the greatest ever players.

"Her legacy is not only on the field but off it, there are thousands of young girls who would count Kelly as their inspiration as well as a number of our current senior squad would see Kelly as their role model. Her ability combined with her determination to win made her a fantastic role model for our current group of senior and youth players. 

"Kelly has been a pleasure to work with, her professionalism has been second to none. I am very proud to have had the opportunity to work with Kelly. I know the type of person Kelly is - she will be the biggest supporter of this team in the summer at the World Cup. I wish Kelly all the very best for her future."