Sophie Ingle steps down as Cymru captain

Sophie Ingle has announced her decision to relinquish the Cymru captaincy ahead of the second UEFA Women’s EURO 2025 qualifier against Kosovo on Tuesday.

“I just think it’s the right time for me and for the team moving forwards that I pass on the captain’s arm band,” Ingle explained. “It’s been honestly the best nine years of my career representing my country and leading this group of girls out. But I think it’s the right time now, going into the new campaign and we have leaders all across this team.”

New Cymru head coach Rhian Wilkinson enjoyed an impressive 4-0 debut victory over Croatia in the opening qualifier on Friday night, and is now tasked with appointing a successor to Ingle. “I think it’s right to pass it on to someone else and let them experience what I’ve experienced over the last nine years,” she added. “I want them to experience everything I did, the highs and the lows and the leadership that comes with that, and the responsibility that they now take from being the new captain of Wales.”

A stand-out performer for club and country, the Chelsea midfielder was appointed Cymru captain in February 2015 by former manager Jayne Ludlow when she was 23 years-old, and retained the arm band following the appointment of Gemma Grainger in March 2021. Now 32, Ingle continues to play a key role in the progression and development of the side as they look to qualify for the finals of a major tournament for the first time.

“I think we’ve been growing and growing every single year, every single campaign, and there’s more and more leaders naturally,” said Ingle. “It might not even be one player that wears it. I think there’s numerous players within this team now who are ready for it, who are ready for that responsibility. I’ll still be around to obviously help and advise where I can, but I also want them to just excel in it and be themselves because that’s what it’s about at the end of the day.

“It’s obviously such a special feeling when you first walk out leading the team. I’ve learned so much and it’s probably made me the character that I am today because when I first received it at 23 I was a shy young girl and didn’t really speak to the team, whereas that gave me the power to go and speak to the girls and develop those relationships really.”

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