Ex-England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley to retire at end of season

Former England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley will retire at the end of the season, her longtime club Manchester City announced on Monday.

Bardsley will bring her 20-year career to an end, which saw her make 82 international appearances, playing in three Women's World Cups, including having a crucial role in England's third-place finish in Canada in 2015. She also lifted the 2019 SheBelieves Cup and appeared at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

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"It was obviously a pretty tough decision for me to make, but after a lot of deliberation and unfortunately being away from the pitch for quite a while now due to injury, it just felt like it was the right moment," Bardsley said in a statement.

"As sad and strange as it is to be stepping away from something I've committed my entire young adult life to, ultimately it's something I feel really proud of and I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I've left no stone unturned and I have no regrets about how I've applied myself and what I've achieved.

"I feel incredibly proud of my career, but ultimately I'm really excited about the next steps and what is to come in the future, and I'm just very much looking forward to giving back to the football community in many other ways."

Bardsley played for the Cal State Fullerton Titans before beginning her senior career at Ajax America Women. She enjoyed spells at Pali Blues, Sky Blue FC, Linkopings FC and Lincoln before moving to City in 2014, where she made over 100 appearances.

The 37-year-old had a short loan spell at OL Reign last year in a bid to represent Great Britain at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games but was forced to pull out due to injury.

She returned to City this season, and head coach Gareth Taylor said she has "made a real difference behind the scenes" while the side battle Manchester United for Champions League qualification next season.

"Karen has left an undeniable mark on women's football, and I believe that her playing career is just the start of the overall impact she will make," Taylor said.