She’s one of England’s most decorated and celebrated stars, and now Karen Carney believes her Chelsea side is as good as any she’s played in throughout her illustrious career.
The 30-year-old winger joined the Blues in 2015 after a second spell at her hometown club Birmingham City.
Having broken through as a teenager for club and country, Carney has won 134 England caps and amassed a host of domestic silverware during highly successful spells with Arsenal and Birmingham, punctuated with a period spent with Chicago Red Stars.
And while she admitted the Arsenal side between 2006 to 2009 in particular was a force to be reckoned with, she believes the level of competition nowadays and the sheer talent manager Emma Hayes has at her disposal leaves this Chelsea side more than capable of powering to trophies in the years to come.
“The Arsenal team I played in was very special and this team is very, very similar, one reason being how good the squad is,” said Carney, who has four goals this season.
“If anything, I think this squad is better. There’s more competition and teams are full-time now so it’s definitely that bit harder for Chelsea to do what Arsenal did back then.
“But the calibre of players is better and the squad depth we have is fantastic and definitely up there – this team is quite special.”
Carney, along with teammate and fellow England star Fran Kirby, took questions from fans and held a signing and picture session at the Chelsea FC Megastore at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, with the SSE Women’s FA Cup trophy in full view for fans to admire.
And Carney, no stranger to lifting the feted cup, admitted winning the trophy with Birmingham was one of her best feats, one she is itching to repeat with the Kingsmeadow-based outfit, who lifted the trophy in 2015.
The winger and her teammates face a Doncaster Rovers Belles side in their fifth-round clash on Sunday, with their South Yorkshire opponents flying high at the top of FA WSL 2.
THE TROPHY THEY ALL WANT: The SSE Women’s FA Cup
“To win the SSE Women’s FA Cup would be incredible – when I won it with Birmingham, that was probably my greatest achievement to date,” added Carney.
“It’s everyone’s dream to win an FA Cup and we’re no different. The final is such a special day and occasion and one to tell your children and grandchildren when you’re older.
“It’s a fantastic trophy with a lot of history and everyone wants to be there on that final day. Chelsea are no different.
“Doncaster are doing very well and looking at the history of the FA Cup, they’re such an iconic team as well. Their form is very good at the moment and they’re got some good players.
“Sunday will be challenging and in a cup game, everything is a leveller. No matter who you are or what you’ve got, it goes out the window.
“Their history as a team, and in the competition, carries a lot of respect and we’ll make sure we prepare well as a team with professionalism.”
Tickets are now on sale for the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final on Saturday 5th May at Wembley Stadium connected by EE. For more information about tickets and SSE’s involvement in women’s football visit www.sponsorship.sse.com.