England legend Kelly Smith joins Arsenal coaching staff ahead of Champions League semi-final clash vs Wolfsburg

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Kelly Smith Arsenal
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England legend Kelly Smith has joined Arsenal's coaching staff in a part-time role ahead of their Champions League clash against Wolfsburg.
  • Smith is considered an Arsenal legend
  • Retired as a player in 2017
  • Will work with the first team

WHAT HAPPENED? The former England international, who was part of Arsenal's 2006-07 Champions League-winning squad, has returned to the London club as part of Jonas Eidevall's backroom staff. She had already been working for the Gunners since the turn of the year with the girls' academy as part of her UEFA A license programme. Now, the retired forward will take the next step in her managerial career and work with the first team staff in a part-time role until the end of the season.

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WHAT THEY SAID: "After speaking with Jonas [Eidevall, the manager] and Clare [Wheatley, head of women’s football] it was a really easy decision to join the coaching set-up here,” Smith told The Times.

“The club have been really supportive in helping me complete my A License and take the next step in my own post-playing career. It’s an exciting time to become part of this team — we’ve seen over the past few weeks just how resilient and together they are and I’m looking forward to working with them more closely on and off the pitch at this key point in the season. I love this club and it’s such a great feeling to be wearing the Arsenal badge once more.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Smith will be on the Arsenal bench during the Gunners' second-leg semi-final clash against Wolfsburg in the Champions League, for which more than 52,000 tickets have already been sold. The London outfit came from two goals behind to salvage a 2-2 draw in the first leg in Germany courtesy of strikes from Rafaelle Souza and Stina Blackstenius.

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Kelly SMith Arsenal

Stina Blackstenius Arsenal Women 2022-23

WHAT NEXT? Smith will be hoping to make her return to the Emirates a memorable one in front of a record crowd with Arsenal progressing to the Champions League final at the expense of Wolfsburg on Monday.