Earlier this month, the England and Doncaster Belles striker Karen Walker announ
Earlier this month, the England and Doncaster Belles striker Karen Walker announced her retirement from international football...
Walker's last appearances were during the recent tour to North America and Canada, but she was unable to add to her prolific goalscoring record. Walker hit 40 goals in 83 England appearances, a goalscoring record to be proud of.
The 33 year-old also had the honour of captaining her country during the last two seasons, but the striker has decided to bring the curtain down on her international career. Here she talks exclusively to TheFA.com about the best and worst moments of her illustrious time spent with the national side.
What was the best goal you scored for England?
Probably the one that I scored against Iceland in last year's World Cup play-off away to gain a 2-2 draw. Only really because it was such a big game, it was in the last minute and it wasn't a bad goal either as I lobbed the goalkeeper. It probably sticks in my mind because it was more recent.
What has been your best moment?
Being made England captain for the first time is something I will never forget. Also the time I played at Barnsley, they are the two things that stick in my mind because that is my home town and I never thought I would get to play a game there. We played Portugal, we won 2-0 and I scored a penalty. It was a mad day, my old teachers were there from school, so it was a really good day.
What would you say was your worst time with the national side?
That was when England were under Ted Copeland. I was left out of the squad for two years, which was not a good moment. I don't know why, he didn't really speak to me and let me kinow why but as soon as he was finished I got straight back in. It was a bad time because I wasn't involved.
What is the biggest crowd that you have played in front of for England?
I've played at Wembley before a cup final so there was about 80,000 people there but they had come to watch the cup final rather than watching us. But the biggest crowd I have played against that actually came to watch us was last year's World Cup play-off final against France in St Etienne. I think there was about 26,000 there.
Who is the best England player you have played with alongside?
Kelly Smith. She is probably one of the best players in the world so that is quite an easy answer. Technically she is the best player I've seen and she can do things that a lot of players can't do and is just extremely confident.
Who is the best international player that you have played against?
One of the best players I have played against is the Swedish striker Hanna Lundberg, probably because she scored a few goals against us. She was an excellent player.
Any defenders that you didn't like playing against?
When you play at international level they all seem to be about 9ft tall so they are all hard!!
Is there anything that you regret not achieving for England?
I regret not winning something but that was out of my hands really. I totally regret the two years I didn't play because I could have had a few more caps but if I think about what I set out to do there is nothing I haven't done, which is good. There will be a lot of players who finish their careers and they won't have done that.
What is your abiding memory of your time representing England?
It has just been absolutely amazing, there is not one moment I can pick but the World Cup (Sweden, 1995) was a fantastic experience. I just had the best time ever, it was fantastic and I regret not qualifying again. But the whole time has just been fantastic, even when I haven't been playing and not been getting in. I have met a lot of good friends who I will keep in touch with for a long time after football has finished so every bit of it has been brilliant.
Karen Walker was talking to Ben Rice