Scotland legend Kim Little retires from international duty

Scotland legend Kim Little has retired from international football at the age of 31.

Kim Little has decided to retire from international duty. Picture: SNS

The midfielder’s decision comes as a sizeable blow to the national team with the start of the World Cup 2023 qualifiers beginning later this month as new boss Pedro Martinez Losa takes his team to Hungary.

Little played a significant role in Scotland qualifying for the 2017 Euros, their first major tournament, though she would miss the finals due to injury. She would make up for that by helping Shelley Kerr’s side to qualify for the 2019 World Cup, which saw her start all three group games and score in the infamous 3-3 draw with Argentina.

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The Arsenal star ends her Scotland career in fourth place in the all-time appearances table with 140, one behind Pauline Hamill who she would’ve been due to pass this month, and third in the all-time scorers lists (59) behind only Jane Ross and leader Julie Fleeting.

Little explained her decision in an SFA statement: “Stepping away from playing international football is something I have been considering for a while and I feel now is the right time to make that change.

“I am proud of the 15 years I have spent representing the national team. I have developed and grown as a person through my experiences representing my country and know they will help me in countless ways in the future.

“Thank you to my teammates for being incredibly empowering and inspiring women. My most vivid and fondest memories are from being by your side on and off the pitch through good times and some challenging times, pushing for progress for the women’s game.

“I now look forward to supporting you all from afar and can’t wait to watch you perform and continue to improve the women’s game in Scotland.

“I want to wish Pedro and the team all the very best for the up-and-coming qualifiers and beyond.”

Little started her career at Hibernian Ladies before moving to Arsenal in 2008. After five quality years with the Gunners, including winning PFA Player of the Year, she moved to Seattle Reign in 2014. Two years later she was back in North London, via a loan stint with Melbourne City, where she’s since added to her haul of major honours won, taking it to 13 with Arsenal across the two spells.

She also represented Great Britain at this year’s Olympics, a feat she repeated after featuring at the 2012 games in London.

Scotland boss Martinez Losa, who was hired as Shelley Kerr’s successor in July and was formerly Little’s coach at Arsenal, spoke of his disappointment at not being able to work with her for Scotland.

He said: “Kim has contributed hugely to the women’s game in Scotland and will go down in history as one of the best players to pull on the national team jersey.

“While it is obviously disappointing that Kim will no longer be available for international selection, I understand and respect her decision.

“On behalf of everyone involved in women’s football in Scotland I would like to thank Kim for everything she has done both on the pitch as a player but also as a role model to young girls who have admired her and aim to follow in her footsteps.”

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