England and Great Britain’s Ellie Watton was praised for her work ethic and overcoming adversity after announcing her international retirement on Tuesday.
Watton, who made her debut in 2013, recorded 77 caps, scoring 13 goals as she fought back from being picked as a reserve at Rio 2016 to end her career at last month’s World Cup. She will now take up a PE teaching position at Rugby School.
Watton, 28, said: “The past five and a half years have been hugely memorable and a privileged period in my life. I feel extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to play for my country and alongside some fantastic teammates, many of which will be friends for life.
She hailed her two Commonwealth Games and EuroHockey medals as “special” after scoring in all three tournaments.
She added: “My career has been by no means plain sailing and has had both highs and lows, so I have made the decision to retire from international hockey to continue to pursue another passion of mine.”
Captain Alex Danson paid tribute Watton, by admitting: “Ellie has epitomised for me the true art of being an elite athlete. Her immense talent on the field and eye for goal has been equalled always by Ellie’s dedication and work ethic.
“If I was a young athlete she would be the player I looked up to. She’s fought her way into every side and has been both an incredible team mate and friend to us all.
Performance Director at England and Great Britain Hockey, Ed Barney: “Her work ethic, ability to overcome adversity and operate as the consummate professional has never been underestimated by her teammates and staff at England and Great Britain Hockey.