Ellen White admitted her football dreams came true when she won Euro 2022 after announcing her retirement.
The Lionesses’ record goalscorer hung up her boots at 33, with 52 goals in 113 internationals.
The Manchester City striker has described building a professional career as her “greatest honour” and insisted it was the right time to retire.
White admitted she had been agonizing over retirement but finally felt England’s glittering summer would be the ideal time to say goodbye.
“This was one of the hardest decisions of my life, but I know it’s the right decision for me,” White said in a message posted to Twitter.
“This decision has always been one I wanted to make on my terms. And this is my time to say goodbye to football and watch the next generation shine.
“It was my greatest honor and privilege to play this game. Above all, playing for England is and remains the greatest gift.
“My dreams came true on July 31 to win the Euros and become European champions.”
White came through Arsenal academy but made his mark at Chelsea and spent three years in the Blues’ senior ranks before moving to Leeds.
His return to Arsenal was followed by stints in Notts County, Birmingham and Manchester City.
The Lionesses are determined to use their success to force change at all levels of sport and improve athletic opportunities for girls and women.
And White urged future England hopefuls never to lose sight of their dreams.
“This is for the next generation and potentially the next Lioness,” White said.
“You don’t have to be the best at something to make your dreams come true, just look at me.
“Hard work, dedication, passion and love for what you do is a great recipe. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something or achieve your dreams.
“I was once told I couldn’t play for the boys’ team and I would never play for England. Now I’m retiring having 113 caps and 52 goals for England and one European champion.
“Finally, let’s use the momentum of winning the Euros to ensure every young person, in every community, has the opportunity to play and connect with all English football teams.”
England head coach Sarina Wiegman paid tribute to a “world-class” operator who played a crucial role in the European Championship triumph.
“Ellen gave so much for England and we are all so proud of her,” said Wiegman.
“I’ve only had the pleasure of working with her for the past year, but her professionalism, pace of work and finishing skills are world class.
“She has done a great job for the team this summer, she is the perfect team player and has helped the younger players find their feet in international football.
“I already knew she was a great player, but I found an even better person.
“We will miss her, but I fully understand her decision to take a new direction.”
Baroness Sue Campbell described White as the epitome of a role model for future generations to emulate.
“Ellen White will be remembered as a role model for many,” said Campbell, director of women’s football at the FA.
“It’s not just about her record-breaking 52 goals and performances on the pitch, but also the standards she sets and her behavior.
“As a true women’s leader, Ellen White was never about her – even when she scored the crucial goals or gave everything she had, the team always came first. She is a legend of modern football.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/ellen-white-retirement-england-lionesses-manchester-city-b2150181.html Retirement of Ellen White: The England Lionesses’ record goalscorer and Euro 2022 winner is retiring from football