Sarina Wiegman Rachel Daly splitGetty/GOAL

Eight games without a start - but Rachel Daly's shock England retirement presents the Lionesses with a genuine No.9 conundrum

There was plenty of shock when Rachel Daly announced her England retirement on Wednesday morning. Indeed, it came little over 12 hours after the 32-year-old had been in action for her country, as a substitute in the Lionesses' 2-0 win over Ireland. Daly has been a staple of this side for years now, a key part of the European Championship triumph in 2022 and last year's run to the World Cup final. But, as the news was given time to sink in, it felt less and less surprising.

After all, Daly hasn't started any of England's last eight games. Having finally established herself as a centre-forward for her country, after years of playing at full-back, wing-back or anywhere but her natural role, the last nine months have seen her go from challenging strongly for the No.9 shirt to being a distant back-up to Alessia Russo. Opportunities have been few and far between, and now Daly will be solely focused on being the best Aston Villa striker she can be.

Despite that, the news does pose a real conundrum for the Lionesses, and it gives Sarina Wiegman plenty to ponder as England build-up to that European title defence in Switzerland next summer.

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