England midfielder Carney announces retirement ahead of game

Karen Carney says her mind wants to continue playing football but her body does not permit it. (Facebook pic)

NICE: England midfield stalwart Karen Carney will retire from football after her team’s World Cup third-place play-off against Sweden in Nice on Saturday, the 31-year-old has announced.

“I’ve probably known for quite a while now,” Carney said of her decision at a press conference on Friday.

“My mind still wants to do everything and it still can but I don’t think my body can anymore. At some point your body tells you enough is enough and I think I’ve got to that point.”

Carney, who appeared in all three of England’s group games at the World Cup but has not been used since, has won 143 caps since making her debut in 2005.

Part of the England side that won bronze at the 2015 World Cup in Canada, her decision means she also ends her association with Chelsea Women’s Football Club with whom she won the league and cup double in 2017-18.

A member of the Arsenal team which won an unprecedented quadruple in the 2006-07 season, Carney also played for Birmingham City and Chicago Red Stars.

“I feel incredibly honoured that I, in a short space of time, got to know one of our greatest players, but more importantly, what an amazing person, and that makes me a lucky, lucky manager,” said England coach Phil Neville.

The Lionesses are hoping to finish on a high and take third place at a second straight World Cup after the disappointment of losing 2-1 to the United States in the semi-finals in Lyon on Tuesday.

“It’s a great barometer tomorrow for us in terms of the challenge ahead, can we beat teams like Sweden?” said Neville.

“They’re well organised, they’ve got a good system, they’ve got fantastic front players, and they’re consistently challenging like us to try and get over the line to the semi-final, win tournaments.

“I think you’ll see two outstanding teams who will attack and want to win that bronze medal. It’s not the medal that we wanted to win but it’s the only medal we can win now.”

Saturday’s match kicks off at 3pm.