Ellie Watton has announced her retirement from international hockey after representing Great Britain and England for nearly six years.
Watton made her debut against South Africa on the 4 February back in 2013 and went on to earn 77 international caps, scoring 13 goals.
Ellie made her final appearance when she earnt her 50th cap for England at the recent Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup on home soil in front of a crowd of over 10,000 people.
She won two Commonwealth Games medals and one at the European Championships, scoring at all these tournaments.
On announcing her retirement, Ellie said: “The past 5 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.
“I have created some incredible memories and been lucky enough to come away with a few very special medals.
“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.
“I will be returning to the teaching profession and I am very excited to be staring a new job at Rugby School as a teacher of PE and games.”
England and Great Britain captain Alex Danson paid tribute Watton, she said: “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.
“With World Cups, Commonwealth Games, Europeans and an Olympics for her memory bank, she has achieved an incredible amount. But I hope more than anything Ellie will look back and know that she was the very best version of herself, always, and inspired us to be the same.
“We wish her all the very best in her teaching role at Rugby school, how lucky those students are.”
Performance Director at England and Great Britain Hockey, Ed Barney commented: “Ellie has brought a phenomenal amount to England and Great Britain. It is too easy to reference the manner in which a retiring player is truly respected, admired and valued by their team mates, but Ellie genuinely is.
“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. We all wish her the very best in her new venture and have no doubt that she will be fulfilled and an exceptional asset to Rugby School.”