Rachel Daly announces retirement from international football

The 32-year-old Aston Villa forward won 84 caps for England and scored 16 goals.

Rachel Daly has announced her retirement from international football
Rachel Daly has announced her retirement from international football (Rene Nijhuis/PA)

Rachel Daly has announced her retirement from international football.

The 32-year-old Aston Villa forward won 84 caps for England, scoring 16 goals.

Daly was part of the Lionesses’ European Championship-winning side in 2022, where she started every game in the tournament.

“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,” she posted on Instagram.

“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.

“During my eight years as a Lioness, I’ve always pursued success and winning football matches, while playing and training with the highest standards of competition, passion and perseverance.

“It has been the greatest honour to represent my family, my team-mates 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. 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!”

Daly scored on her England debut against Serbia in 2016.

Her first taste of senior tournament action came three years later at the 2019 World Cup in France, where she made five appearances.

A home Euros followed in 2022 and Daly played a key role at left-back for the Lionesses, appearing in every game on their way to being crowned champions.

The versatile Daly was named as a forward in the squad for England’s World Cup campaign last year and again played every game, including the final where they were beaten by Spain.

Daly’s final England appearance came as a substitute in Tuesday night’s Euro 2025 qualifying victory over the Republic of Ireland.

Head coach Sarina Wiegman said on the England website: “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.

Daly’s final England appearance came on Tuesday against the Republic of Ireland
Daly’s final England appearance came on Tuesday against the Republic of Ireland (Rene Nijhuis/PA)

“I have never worked with a player so versatile, always with a smile on her face, bringing energy and trying to do her best for the team.

“Off the pitch she is always up for a joke or a nice conversation. She’ll be missed not just by me, but all the other staff members, players and of course the fans.

“It is sad that she won’t be with us anymore, but we should celebrate what she has done for the team and now she becomes our number one fan. I would love to see her in the stands in future cheering for us and helping us to get some more wins.”

The Prince of Wales hailed Daly on social media for her “unforgettable performances” with England.

The post on X said: “Thank you for so many unforgettable performances with the Lionesses. Plenty more goals for Villa now! W.”

Daly’s England team-mates paid tribute to her on social media, with Beth Mead writing: “So proud of you, no words to describe how gutted I am but what an international career it’s been.

“So happy to have been a part of it. Love you Rachy.”

Defender Millie Bright posted: “I don’t have many words right now. I’ve shed a lot of tears knowing this was coming.

“I am the proudest best friend of everything you’ve achieved in your international career. You’ve given your heart and soul to your country over and over again. I love you.”