Steven Gerrard pays tribute to Anita Asante as she ends iconic career

Anita Asante and Steven Gerrard

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard commended Anita Asante ahead of the final match of her career.

Asante, who currently plays for Aston Villa Women, announced last month she was retiring from football.

The 37-year-old will grace the pitch for one last time as her side take on Birmingham City on Sunday.

In advance of her final game, Gerrard visited the women’s training ground to surprise Asante with a shirt for her retirement.

According to BBC Sport’s Emma Sanders, Gerrard also spoke with players and staff about how the Aston Villa men’s and women’s teams could work together more closely.

Asante came through the ranks at Arsenal, and was part of the quadruple-winning team in 2007.

She then joined Chelsea for a season in 2008, before moving to Sky Blue FC for the inaugural Women’s Professional Soccer season in 2009.

Short stints at Saint Louis Athletica, Chicago Red Stars and Washington Freedom followed in 2010, before another season with Sky Blue FC.

Sweden was next, with Asante playing for Göteborg for one season and FC Rosengård for four seasons. She returned to England to play for Chelsea in 2018, and then transferred to Aston Villa in 2020.

Asante’s trophy cabinet is filled with numerous accolades, including a Champions League title, four English league titles, and four FA Cups.

She also earned 71 caps for England and was selected to represent Britain at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Aston Villa's Anita Asante

”It was a difficult decision to make and I’m enjoying my season with Villa at the moment,” Asante told Sky Sports News as she announced her retirement.

“But every journey must come to an end and for me, I think it’s the right time to hang my boots up and give thanks to everyone who’s helped me along my journey.

“I’ve always been an advocate for widening that pool of talent and crossing many demographics. I feel like I was very fortunate to come into the game when I did.

“I want to make sure many more girls across the demographics are getting the same opportunities I did playing football and I really hope I can impact that on and off the pitch. Those are the long-term goals for me.”

Asante also revealed she was hoping to “explore” the coaching side of football.

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