Anita Asante: Aston Villa defender, who played for England, Arsenal and Chelsea, to retire at end of season

Anita Asante, the Aston Villa defender who has won 71 caps for England and represented Team GB at the 2012 London Olympics, will retire at the end of the season.

Asante – who turns 37 on Wednesday – has been a regular for Villa this season, playing 21 times to help them to ninth place in the Women’s Super League.

The defender will hope to feature in Villa’s final two matches of the campaign. They face a trip to Asante’s former side Arsenal on May 1 before ending their campaign at home to rivals Birmingham on May 8.

Asante began her career at Arsenal and was part of the Gunners side that lifted the Premier League, Premier League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup to win a historic quadruple in 2007.

The defender then joined Chelsea before moving to the US, where she played for Sky Blue FC, Chicago Red Stars and Washington Freedom.

Asante was part of the Team GB squad at the London Olympics 10 years ago

Asante also spent five years in Sweden, where she won silverware with both Goteborg and Rosengard, before returning to Chelsea and then joining Villa in 2020.

At international level, Asante took part in two World Cups and three European Championships.

Asante: I will continue to grow the women’s game

Asante, who has championed women’s football through her work in the media and organisations like Show Racism the Red Card, Amnesty International and Goals for Girls, has vowed to continue to support the game after her retirement.

She told Villa’s official website: “The last two seasons with Villa has been a great experience, and to be part of supporting the next generation of players.

“It’s great to have a historic and massive club like Villa in the Midlands and it has a very ambitious future, and I know they will inspire many young girls to play football and enjoy the highs of the game that I have been so fortunate to experience.

“I’m really excited about what the future holds, and I hope to continue play a positive and impactful part in the growth of the women’s game on the other side of the lines, be it in the media and in club management.”

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