Casey Stoney to join Phil Neville's England staff after ending playing career

Casey Stoney playing for England
Casey Stoney last played for England against Denmark in July 2017

England and Liverpool defender Casey Stoney will join the backroom team of new Lionesses boss Phil Neville after ending her playing career on Wednesday.

The former England captain, 35, won 130 caps and skippered the Great Britain team at the 2012 London Olympics.

Her last game will be for Liverpool against Sunderland before she joins Neville's staff at the SheBelieves Cup in the United States next month.

Stoney said: "I am hugely excited about starting my next chapter."

Stoney, who teams up with Neville as part of the FA's new player-to-coach scheme, is the first appointment to the former Manchester United player's coaching set-up and was a watching observer when he was presented to the media last month.

She added: "Although I am sad to be hanging up my boots, I do so proud of what I have achieved and with great optimism about what the future holds for the women's game.

"I am thoroughly looking forward to working with Phil, 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. I will be doing everything possible to support him alongside finishing my coaching badges."

Casey Stoney receives an MBE
Stoney was awarded an MBE for services to football in 2015, which she says she "still has to pinch herself about"

Casey will be invaluable - Neville

Former Manchester United and Valencia coach Neville was a controversial appointment when he took over the role last month, having previously not worked in women's football and been a manager for only three games.

He also apologised for a series of tweets, which were described as "sexist".

By choosing Stoney to work alongside him, he has selected one of the most respected players in the game and one who has acted as a mentor to many of the current squad as her playing opportunities became more limited.

Despite only starting once at the 2015 World Cup in Canada, she was a key figure during England's run to third place.

England and Lyon full-back Lucy Bronze on Twitter
England and Lyon full-back Lucy Bronze was among those to have praised Stoney's attributes

"Casey has been a wonderful player for England and I am delighted she will continue to help the team with her new position," said Neville, 41.

"She has tremendous knowledge of the game and will be invaluable in helping us to take the team up another level.

"From working with her already and seeing at first hand the hunger she has to pass on her experience, I am sure Casey will go on to have a coaching career that rivals what she did on the pitch."

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England women's captain Casey Stoney no longer frightened of what people might think

'One of the true greats'

Stoney, who describes her 24-year-playing career as a "dream come true", made her England debut in 2000 as an 18-year-old and in 2012 became only the fifth player to win 100 England caps for the Lionesses.

She appeared in three World Cups - in 2007, 2011 and 2015 - and played at the 2009 and 2013 European Championships, as well as being an unused substitute at the 2005 and 2017 Euros.

Being part of the teams that finished second at Euro 2009 and third at the 2015 World Cup were her greatest England achievements, but she describes being made captain by former boss Hope Powell as a moment that "changed her life".

Stoney won 12 major trophies for the clubs she represented, including four FA Cups. She played for Chelsea, Arsenal, Charlton Athletic, Lincoln and Liverpool, who she joined in December 2016.

In 2014, while England captain, she spoke publicly about being gay for the first time, which she said was a "huge weight" lifted from her shoulders.

Former England manager and Tottenham midfielder Glenn Hoddle on Twitter
Former England manager and Tottenham midfielder Glenn Hoddle was among those to pay tribute

FA chairman Greg Clarke said: "When it comes to acknowledging the true greats of English football, Casey Stoney has to be ranked among them. To earn 130 caps, win a World Cup bronze medal, captain Team GB at the Olympics and stay at the top of the club game for 17 years is truly special.

"While she has shone as a player, Casey has also embraced the FA's efforts to grow the women's game, becoming a remarkable ambassador for all.

"She has doubtless inspired many to follow in her footsteps, and I am sure this will continue to be the case as her England coaching career develops."

Further tributes to Stoney

Former England captain Faye White on Twitter
Former England captain Faye White adds her thoughts
Wayne Bridge
Former Chelsea and England defender Wayne Bridge pays tribute to Stoney's career
Alex Danson on Twitter
Olympic gold-winning hockey player Alex Danson pays tribute to Stoney