Arsenal’s Kelly smith has hung up her international boots.

The all-time leading England goalscorer, 36, will continue to play for the Gunners as well as focusing on the part-time coaching role she has taken on at the club.

Standing in as interim manager for Arsenal after Shelley Kerr left the club last season, Smith scored 46 goals in 117 appearances for her country but feels that the time is right to stop representing her country.

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.”

Her decision comes just a few months before the Women’s World Cup which is due to take place in Canada this summer but it is clear that Smith has her eye firmly set on a managerial or full-time coaching position as she takes her licences and gains valuable experience working under new ladies boss, Pedro Losa.

Smith added

“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 and the team all the best for the tournament.”

Mark Sampson, England’s head coach, said of Smith

“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.”

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