Shelley Kerr lauds 'one of a kind' Kelly Smith after Cup win

Sunday 01 Jun 2014
Arsenal captain Kelly Smith (left) and Shelley Kerr hold aloft The FA Women's Cup

Outgoing Arsenal Ladies manager Shelley Kerr lavished praise on Kelly Smith after the Gunners captain orchestrated her side’s FA Women’s Cup Final win over Everton.

Smith scored one, an exquisite 20-yard free-kick, and made the other for Japanese midfielder Yukari Kinga as the north London club ran out 2-0 winners at stadium:mk.

And Kerr said of her player-coach: “She’s just incredible. She’s 35 years old and I don’t think you’ll see another player like her, she’s that talented.

Arsenal 2-0 Everton

The FA Women's Cup
The Final
Sunday 1 June 2014
stadium:mk, MK Dons FC

“Every time she takes a free-kick I’m almost writing in my notepad that it’s a goal because that’s the quality that she has.

“I thought we had some fantastic performances, but Kelly was outstanding.

“She’s a fantastic leader. She’s not the most vocal person, but she leads by example on and off the pitch.”

The victory over the Toffees was Kerr’s last match in charge of the 13-time Cup winners, after the Scot announced last week that she will step down from the hotseat, with Arsenal bottom of The FA WSL, and winless, after four games.

Kerr led Arsenal to two FA Women’s Cup triumphs and one FA WSL Continental Cup during her 16-month reign and will now take a break before deciding on her future.

She added: “I’m going to go home, walk my dog and have a holiday.

“When you’re involved in football at a professional level you work around the clock. I’m going to be a mum for a couple of weeks and I’m going to chill, reflect and evaluate.

“Football is all I know. I’ve been involved since I was five years old, first as a player and then as a coach. Hopefully I’ll be back involved soon. Jobs in football are quite hard to find but I’ve got a lot of thinking to do. It will be good to spend some time with my family and friends.

“I’m going to take a well-earned holiday.”

Kerr believed her side were deserved winners over Everton, having dominated proceedings for the majority of The Final.

Although they have failed to replicate their Cup form in the League, Kerr could only thank her players for the effort and support they have given her during her time in charge.

She said: “It’s never about me, I’m a team player. It’s for the players - they thoroughly deserve this.

“The support from the players and their work ethic; they have always been 100 per cent behind me.

“Arsenal are a fantastic club and they gave me an opportunity to work with such a fantastic group of players, including some of the most talented young players in the country.

“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this group of players will be fantastic.”

Kerr continued: “I thought the girls were fantastic today but that’s nothing new to me. I’ve seen that all year.

“They have trained like that every single day I’ve worked with them and in most of the games this season we saw evidence of it. It’s just unfortunate that until today we haven’t been consistent with it.

“We thoroughly deserved the win today. I’m really, really proud of them.”

By Glenn Lavery at stadium:mk