Manchester City and England heroine Karen Bardsley brings curtain down on 20-year playing career

KAREN BARDSLEY is hanging up her boots bringing an end to her silverware-laden football career spanning two decades.

The US-born England international goalkeeper, who won eight trophies with WSL giants Manchester City announced her retirement today.

Karen Bardsley played an influential role in Manchester City’s rise to the top helping the club win eight major trophiesCredit: Reuters

The veteran shot-stopper, who has 82 senior England caps, played for the Lionesses at three World Cup tournaments and two European Championships.

Bardsley, 37, has seen her match start chances hampered after sustaining a hamstring injury.

Her last appearance for the Citizens, who are currently fourth in the WSL, was in a 7-0 drubbing of Aston Villa back in January last year.

Of her decision to retire, Bardsley said: “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.

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“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.

“I’m just very much looking forward to giving back to the football community in many other ways.

“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, who was born in California to parents from Manchester, played an influential role in the Citizens’ emergence as a dominant force.

The shot-stopper helped the club to a treble trophy win in 2017 and a cup double in the 2018-2019 season.

Trophy wins include a WSL title, three FA Cups and four league cups including a 2019 Continental Tyres Cup final defeat of Arsenal following a penalty shootout

The City ace played in four games for Hope Powell’s Great Britain side at the London 2012 Olympics.

City boss Gareth Taylor says Bardsley has left

City boss Gareth Taylor says Bardsley has left “an undeniable mark on women’s football”

And she featured for England up to the quarter-final stage of the 2019 World Cup before a torn hamstring forced her out of action.

It was an injury that led the WSL heroine to question her playing future.

Last April, reflecting on her injury, Bardsley told Sky Sports: “Basically, I tore the hamstring tendon off the bone at the end of the first half against Norway at the World Cup in 2019.

Although injury has limited Karen’s appearances on the pitch during my time in charge, she has remained an integral member of our team and has made a real difference behind the scene.

Gareth Taylor – Manchester City head coach

“I knew something was wrong as it all felt a bit loose, but I think adrenaline kept me going,” 

“I don’t think I understood how bad it was at the time, it was probably because I managed to finish the game.

“A few months later I had surgery and from that point onwards it was a 15-month recovery.

“The surgery was more invasive than I realised.

“I got a fresh perspective about what it’s like to be out of the game and think about what I want from women’s football.

“Do I still love it? Do I still want to play?”

Last year Bardsley, who began her career with US college football side Cal State Fullerton Titans, was included in the Team GB squad for the Tokyo Olympics.

But an injury led to her withdrawing from the group ahead of the start of the tournament.

Bardsley played in goal for England up to the quarter-stage of the 2019 Women's World Cup

Bardsley played in goal for England up to the quarter-stage of the 2019 Women’s World CupCredit: Getty

Of her career, Man City boss Gareth Taylor, 49, said: “Karen has left an undeniable mark on women’s football.

“I believe that her playing career is just the start of the overall impact she will make.

“Although injury has limited her appearances on the pitch during my time in charge, she has remained an integral member of our team and has made a real difference behind the scenes.

“She deserves all the plaudits that she receives, and I would like to wish her the very best for the future and the next step of her journey.”

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