By Nik Brumsack
Rachel Yankey has paid tribute to Arsenal after becoming England Ladies’ most capped player.
The winger moved above Gillian Coulthard when she earned her 120th cap in England’s 3-0 win over Croatia on Wednesday - a victory that sealed Hope Powell’s team a place at next summer’s European Championship in Sweden.
Speaking after the game, Yankey was still trying to come to terms with her achievement.
“It feels mad. It hasn’t really sunk in,” she told Arsenal.com.
“I tried to focus on the game - it had to be won. We did that and it gives us a chance to go to another major championship and play more games for England.
“I tried to concentrate on that rather than breaking records. That was how I stayed focused.”
Yankey made her international debut in 1997, having signed for Arsenal a year earlier. And the 32-year-old was quick to praise the Club’s influence on her career.
“Arsenal is a massive club with enormous history. It’s the biggest club in the country and there’s pressure on us still to go and produce week in, week out,” she said.
“[Breaking the record] was an amazing achievement for me, and it was a privilege to have people like Vic Akers ring me up and tell me how proud he was of me. That means so much to me.
“Obviously Laura Harvey and Rehanne Skinner let me know how proud they are, and how proud Arsenal Football Club is that I’ve broken that record. Things like that mean a lot.
“Arsenal have always been my club and I’m an Arsenal supporter so it’s great for me to have that backing.”
Despite breaking Coulthard’s record, Yankey insists she wants to carry on playing for England for as long as possible.
“I got dropped in 2009 and people told me I’d never play again, and I’m still playing now,” she said.
“As long as I’m fit, healthy and of value to the team, I still want to play. I think I’ve earned the right to be in the team.”Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source