Monday 19 February 2018, 12:57

Stoney to end playing career, join England coaching staff

Former England captain Casey Stoney, who represented the Lionesses 130 times during more than two decades as a player, will hang up her boots to join the coaching staff of the national side.

Since making her debut in 1994 for Chelsea aged just 12, the Liverpool Ladies defender – who will step onto the field for the final time on Wednesday – has featured at the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ on three occasions, including England’s bronze-medal run at Canada 2015. She also skippered Great Britain on home soil at the Women's Olympic Football Tournament London 2012 and helped her team to second at the UEFA Women’s EURO in 2009.

Awarded an MBE (Member of the British Empire) for her services to football in 2015, she will now form part of new England coach Phil Neville’s backroom staff for the upcoming SheBelieves Cup. “I was lucky to have played in a successful era of women’s football; now it is time for me to give back,” Stoney, 35, explained in an open letter. “That starts with me working hard to support and develop the hugely talented group of players England has at the moment.

“I am thoroughly looking forward to working with Phil Neville, who is an excellent choice to take the women’s game forward. I talked to him at length before accepting the job and was hugely impressed with his vision, passion and eagerness to learn.”

Her first test on the bench, 18 years since she pulled on an England shirt for the first time, will be against France, before meetings with Germany and USA in the annual tournament. Then, she will be entrusted with helping the team currently sat third in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking through Women’s World Cup France 2019 qualifying, with neighbours Wales their next opponents.

“The women’s game has grown significantly in this country in recent years, which is something we should all be very proud of,” she said. “The challenge now is to continue producing performances and results which encourage even more interest.”