LGBTQ+ football legend Rachel Daly announces international retirement in emotional statement

Rachel Daly.

England forward Rachel Daly has retired from international football, the BBC reports. The 32-year-old, who has 84 caps and is a forward for Aston Villa, was part of the England team that won Euro 2022.

Daly’s shock announcement on Wednesday (10 April) came the day after she played as a substitute in Tuesday’s Euro 2025 qualifier – helping to steer England to a 2-0 win over the Republic of Ireland.

“I would love nothing more to play for England for ever but the time has come for me to hang my boots up on the international stage,” the now-former Lioness said in an emotional statement.

“While today is an extremely difficult day for me, it’s also one filled with reflection and immense gratitude. Playing for and representing England has been a privilege.

“During my eight years as a Lioness I’ve always pursued success and winning football matches, while playing and training with the highest standards of competition, passion and perseverance.

“It has been the greatest honour to represent my family, my teammates, and the entire country. I have a lot of incredible memories during my time with England that have been pivotal moments.

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“Winning the Euros and then reaching the World Cup final changed a lot for me, not only as a footballer but as a person.”

England manager Sarina Wiegman praised Daly, saying: “I have never worked with a player so versatile, always with a smile on her face, bringing energy and trying to do her best for the team.

“Rachel has been an incredible part of our story and the history we’ve made together. It has been a privilege to work with her.”

Rachel Daly started her senior career at Leeds United in 2010, then moved to Texas to play for Houston Dash. She joined West Ham United on loan in 2020, then, on 9 August 2022, it was announced that Daly had signed a three-year deal with Aston Villa.

Rachel Daly’s partner

According to The Sun, Rachel Daly’s partner is currently her Aston Villa teammate Sarah Mayling, who is a defender. Daly previously dated Manchester United player Millie Turner, they got together in 2021.

Turner was in the stands to support her partner Rachel Daly and the rest of the England Lionesses during their 2-1 victory victory over Germany in the Euros final last summer, with Daly sharing an adorable picture of the pair embracing moments after the win on Instagram: the photo has since been deleted.

Daly has previously expressed her hope that the men’s game will catch up with the women’s when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation.

“I think they’ll get there”, Daly told the Daily Mail following England’s Euros win in 2022. “It’s a generational thing, some older people [have a problem with it]. But it’s more common now to accept it and be OK with it. I think they’ll lose the stigma eventually.”