Kelly Smith retires from England duty

England's all-time leading women's goalscorer Kelly Smith has announced her international retirement after a career in which she played at seven final tournaments.

Kelly Smith is widely considered one of the greatest female footballers
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England's all-time leading women's goalscorer Kelly Smith has announced her international retirement.

The Arsenal LFC striker, 36, earned 117 caps and scored 46 goals for England, including a memorable strike in the UEFA Women's EURO 2009 final, one of seven major tournaments she played at including the 2012 Olympics. Smith, who has recovered from several major injuries throughout her career, will continue to play for Arsenal LFC where she is also a coach.

Debuting in 1995 against Italy alongside the future coach who gave her most of her caps, Hope Powell, Smith said: "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.

"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."

England manager Mark Sampson, preparing his team for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada this summer, 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 doubt one of the greatest ever players."

REACTION TO SMITH'S INTERNATIONAL RETIREMENT:

England captain Stephanie Houghton
I consider Kelly Smith to be England's best-ever player and feel honoured to have had her as a team-mate. She will be most definitely missed around camp. When I first came into the England set-up she was the first person to welcome me into the squad and she has been someone I've really looked up as a player and as a person. Even though she is one of the best players in the world, you would never know it as a team-mate as she is so down to earth and humble.

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