Coultard goes out at the top
Gillian Coultard, the stalwart and former captain of the England women's team, has announced her retirement from international football after 119 appearances for country.
Gillian is the most capped women's international and is the second most capped England player, with only Peter Shilton having gained more (125). She is part of an elite band of 5 footballers (Bobby Moore, Billy Wright and Bobby Charlton are the others) to have been awarded more than 100 caps for their country and she is the only woman and amateur player to have entered this highly exclusive club.
Gillian, who plays for Doncaster Belles in the F.A. Women's Premier League, said of her decision:
"At the age of 37 I feel that I have achieved great things within women's football and I am proud to have been a part of its advances over the past 24 years.
"I now want to concentrate on furthering the advancement and quality of women's football within a coaching role in the National Women's Football Academy, Durham."
Peter Shilton congratulated Gill on her career, saying: "I know it's a record I'm very proud of and for any outfield player to reach over 100 caps is an amazing achievement. It is a great milestone for her and for women's football which I know is taking off in a big way. Well done to Gill."
Chairman of the F.A. Women's Football Committee, Ray Kiddell congratulated Gill on a glorious career. "Gill has made an incredible contribution to the English game at a national and domestic level," said Kiddell. "Her conduct both on and off the pitch has been a credit to her and to England and she has been a wonderful captain of the national side. I wish her all the best in her coaching career."
England coach Hope Powell has the difficult task of filling the void left by Coultard. The England coach said this morning: "Gill is a great ambassador for the game and a superb role model. It is crucial that she stays in the game as an inspiration to the stars of the future. It is the end of an era."
Gillian will be Chief Guest at the next England Women's International at home on Tuesday 28 November when they take on the Ukraine in the crucial play-offs for the UEFA European Championships taking place next summer.
- Club football with Doncaster Belles for 24 years; honours include two National League titles and six F.A. Women's Cup winners medals.
- First England appearance against Republic of Ireland in 1981.
- England record: 119 caps, 30 goals
- 100th England international appearance against Scotland in 1997
- Reached the quarter-finals of the Women's World Cup in 1995 with England