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 By PA Sport

England Women's record scorer Kelly Smith retires from international duty

Smith scored 46 times in 117 appearances at international level.

England's all-time record women's goalscorer Kelly Smith has retired from international football.

The 36-year-old Arsenal Ladies striker scored 46 times in 117 appearances for England, playing at the 2007 and 2011 World Cups and at four European Championships, as well as for Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics.

Her role had become reduced in the national squad, with Eni Aluko, Toni Duggan, Natasha Dowie, Lianne Sanderson and Fran Kirby moving ahead of her in the pecking order.

Smith may have struggled to make Mark Sampson's squad for this summer's World Cup, which takes place in Canada, but chose to retire from England duty on her own terms.

She said in a statement: "After a lot of consideration and many conversations, I have made the toughest decision of my career to retire from international football.

"I feel exceptionally proud and honoured to have played for England for 20 wonderful years. I have enjoyed every single minute of representing my country and wearing the England shirt. The memories will stay with me all my life.

"I am grateful to have played under Hope Powell, and to have had such an amazing support system from my family, friends and all my teammates."

Smith made her England debut against Italy in November 1995, and won her last cap against Ukraine last May.

She will play on for Arsenal, and added: "I am confident the current wealth of talent that Mark Sampson has in the England squad can achieve something special at the World Cup in Canada this summer.''

FA chairman Greg Dyke said: "Kelly has played a huge role in helping women's football get to where it is today, especially through her considerable achievements with Arsenal, England and Team GB.

"She will be much missed on the pitch but I am sure whatever the future holds she will continue to play her part in promoting the game. Indeed, I am glad she will continue to work with us in an ambassadorial role.

"Kelly will be rightly remembered as one of the all-time greats of English football. On behalf of all at the FA, I would like to say 'thank you' and wish her all the very best for the future."

Reacting to Smith stepping aside, England captain Steph Houghton said: "I consider Kelly Smith to be England's best-ever player and feel honoured to have had her as a teammate.

"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 has been someone I've really looked up as a player and as a person."

England head coach Sampson said: "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."


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