Smith made her England debut in 1997 – she went on to win 93 caps for the Lionesses, scoring 16 goals. In total, she played for England over the course of 15 years.
Over the course of her professional club career, Smith played for Tranmere Rovers, Leeds United, Lincoln Ladies and Doncaster Rovers Belles.
What were Smith’s thoughts on the World Cup?
On England’s performance, Smith said: “As disappointed as the players and the staff will be, it was a real opportunity to go win the World Cup. I think, on reflection, they’ll realise what a fantastic tournament they’ve had and the challenges that they’ve had to overcome.
“Going into the tournament, they were missing key players, such as Leah Williamson, the captain, Keira Walsh in the middle, you’re losing players through retirement, Jill Scott, Ellen White, and Beth Mead, top goal scorer in the Euros. You’re missing all of those key players and yet, you’ve still managed to get to a final and play teams from different continents.”
What did Smith have to say regarding Sarina Weigman?
On Sarina Weigman’s leadership, Smith mused: “I think they’ll look back at that moment and be devastated that they haven’t won the World Cup because they’re winners and that’s something that I think Serena Wiegman really instilled into that team, that winning mentality.
“They will have wanted to win and, the fact that they didn’t win, they’ll be gutted. But I think once they reflect, they’ll go, ‘Okay, we’ve done the nation proud’. Now, what’s next? And I think that’s the next thing.
“They’ve got experienced players, but they’ve got a young team that, without a doubt, can be successful, might have been successful, can be even more successful. I think the Lionesses certainly beat my expectations for the tournament.
“To get to the final is outstanding. If you spoke to the players themselves, and the management and the team, they would have 100% said, ‘we’re going to get to the final and we’re going to win’ because that is what they are.
“I spoke to Serena [Wiegman] straight after the Euros to say congratulations. The first thing that she said was ‘the Euros is gone, now, it’s all about the World Cup’. And that’s the mindset that she’s instilling in these players that they want to win at all costs.”
KIND Snacks have created a GIANT ‘welcome home’ message for the Lionesses, visible from the sky as the Lionesses return from their record-breaking win in Australia. The message, which reads ‘LIONESSES, YOU DID US PROUD’, is visible from a plane at 20,000ft high, and made out of thousands of messages of support from the public, including ex-Lionesses, Sue Smith.