Rachel Daly receives glowing send-off from England Lionesses boss Sarina Wiegman after announcing international retirement

Rachel Daly helped England to glory at the 2022 European Championships. Picture: Getty ImagesRachel Daly helped England to glory at the 2022 European Championships. Picture: Getty Images
Rachel Daly helped England to glory at the 2022 European Championships. Picture: Getty Images
England Lionesses chief Sarina Wiegman gave Harrogate’s Rachel Daly a warm send-off after she announced her retirement from international football.

The former Killinghall Nomads junior and Rossett School pupil stunned the world of football when she called time on what has been an extremely successful eight-year career following Tuesday’s 2-0 victory over the Republic of Ireland.

Daly, 32, earned 84 senior caps for England and scored 16 goals, helping her country win the European Championships in 2022 in addition to featuring in two World Cups.

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And Wiegman has stated that she feels “privileged” to have been able to work with her.

Rachel Daly won 84 caps for England and scored 16 goals. Picture: Getty ImagesRachel Daly won 84 caps for England and scored 16 goals. Picture: Getty Images
Rachel Daly won 84 caps for England and scored 16 goals. Picture: Getty Images

"I would like to pay tribute to Rachel Daly,” she said. “Rachel has been an incredible part of our story and the history we’ve made together.

"It has been a privilege to work with her. I have never worked with a player so versatile, always with a smile on her face, always bringing energy, and trying to do her best for the team.

"She’ll be missed not just by me but all the other staff members, players, and of course the fans."

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Wednesday’s announcement by Aston Villa ace Daly, who was last season’s Women’s Super League Golden Boot winner, came completely out of the blue.

A haul of 22 goals for club side Aston Villa saw Rachel Daly finish 2022/23 as the leading scorer in the Women's Super League. Picture: Getty ImagesA haul of 22 goals for club side Aston Villa saw Rachel Daly finish 2022/23 as the leading scorer in the Women's Super League. Picture: Getty Images
A haul of 22 goals for club side Aston Villa saw Rachel Daly finish 2022/23 as the leading scorer in the Women's Super League. Picture: Getty Images

It prompted speculation in certain quarters that she had decided to retire due to the fact that she had not had as much game-time under Wiegman as she would have liked recently, and that she was unhappy at not being utilised as a striker on a regular basis.

But Daly was quick to pour cold water on those suggestions during an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live.

“I’m not sure frustrated is the right word,” she said, speaking on Friday morning. “I’ve always said that representing your country is the biggest honour, and if that means playing in goal, I’d do it – probably not very well but I’d give it a good go.

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“Obviously I know that my strengths are higher up the pitch but if someone said you can play for England in any position you’d bite their hand off to take the opportunity. In recent times I’ve been used more as a striker but I’ve played a part in creating history in women’s football.

"That was something I wanted to do. Whether that was left-back, right-back, up top, it was an opportunity I could never pass up on.

“We had conversations about it [her position] all the time and she [Wiegman] had her thoughts and I had mine. Together we came up with a good plan and it was whatever the team needed at that time.”

Daly went on to reveal that a big factor behind her decision to retire was her desire to spend more time with her family.

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“I’m not getting any younger, I’m 32. I’ve spent a large portion of my career living away from home, living in America for 10 years,” the former Houston Dash star continued.

"Life throws a lot of things at you and family is the constant and I’ve not given enough to them – and hopefully this can enhance my club career as well.

"It’s something I needed to do for myself and it felt like the right time. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about.

"I’m quite an impulsive person, should I say. I make decisions quite quickly in my life but this is probably the only one I’ve actually really mulled over. They always say when you know you know and I think now is the right time.”

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The social media post in which Daly announced her retirement said: “I would love nothing more than to play for England forever, but the time has come for me to hang my boots up on the international stage.

“While today is an extremely difficult day for me, it is also one filled with reflection and immense gratitude. Playing for and representing England has been the greatest honour.

“It has been the greatest honour to represent my family, my teammates and the entire country.

"I have a lot of incredible memories during my time with England that have been pivotal moments. Winning the Euros and then reaching the World Cup Final changed a lot for me, not only as a footballer but as a person.

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"I’m so fortunate that I've been able to share that with so many remarkable people throughout my journey. I have made special friendships that will last a lifetime.

"I will be eternally grateful to have been given the opportunity to wear the England badge with immense pride over the past eight years.

“I am very fortunate to have played a small part in making history with the Lionesses and I feel now is the right time to pass on that baton to the next generation and be England’s number one fan from the stands.”

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