Retiring Lionesses star Carney says body is weary of football

By Sports Desk July 05, 2019

Karen Carney will bring her playing career to an end when England face Sweden in Saturday's Women's World Cup third-place game - and says she has given "heart and soul" to the Lionesses.

Since making her senior international debut as a 17-year-old in 2005, Carney went on to become a key member of the England squad, playing in four World Cups and winning 143 caps.

The silky-skilled Chelsea midfielder, who can play on either flank or in an advanced central role, announced on Friday she will retire from club and national team duty at the end of England's stay in France.

She had hoped to sign off as a World Cup winner, but defeat to the United States in the semi-finals means England will play for bronze.

Carney has started all of England's games at France 2019 on the bench, making three substitute appearances.

She accepts she is no longer the force she once was, and the retirement announcement had been on the 31-year-old's mind for some time.

"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."

Carney also played for Arsenal, Birmingham and Chicago Red Stars, as well as Great Britain at London 2012, and said: "It's really weird, I think the thing I'll miss most is singing the anthem, that'll be tough."

England boss Phil 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," Neville 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."

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