Kelly Smith has admitted it would be a dream to one day manage the Lionesses after England Women's record goalscorer hung up her boots.

The Arsenal Ladies striker has retired at the age of 38 after a career which saw her score 46 goals in 117 appearances for her country.

She was acclaimed as "a legend" by reigning FIFA player of the year Carli Lloyd, and England's most-capped player Fara Williams tweeted to describe Smith as "simply the best player England has ever had".

Long-standing Arsenal team-mate Alex Scott said Smith was "a pioneer", and now new ambitions open up for the player who helped the Gunners win the FA Cup at Wembley last May.

Smith, who will now take up a full-time coaching role with Arsenal, is working towards her A licence.

And while England have no pressing need for a new boss, she hopes future opportunities open up with the national team.

"You have to look at the bigger picture and have dreams and goals," Smith told Press Association Sport. "It was an honour to play for the England team and to manage it would be another dream come true."

Smith blazed a trail for her compatriots by making it as a professional in the United States, long before the Women's Super League made being a full-time player in England a possibility.

She played for sides including the Philadelphia Charge and the Boston Breakers, and was key to England reaching the final of Euro 2009.

Praise for Smith came from both sides of the Atlantic and she said: "I've got a headache from it all. I t's been really nice, I've felt really appreciated.

"It's been quite emotional because I didn't realise how many people I touched in my career."

Arsenal, once the dominant force in English women's football, have fallen behind Manchester City Women and Chelsea Ladies in the WSL, which made their FA Cup triumph over the latter all the more special last season.

"I wanted to win the FA Cup one more time and was delighted with that," Smith said. "It was a massive game for the club, a great occasion.

"Arsenal had fallen away at the elite end - City and Chelsea have been at the forefront. W e were underdogs, which Arsenal aren't used to, and it was just nice because we weren't playing particularly well before the game."

It was her fifth FA Cup, to go with six league titles and a UEFA Women's Cup triumph with Arsenal in 2007.

Smith decided in early 2016 that her time in the game was drawing to an end, and she could not be persuaded to play on, despite receiving an offer from an English club she prefers not to identify.

"A club came in for me and I had a conversation but I couldn't join them because of my connections with Arsenal," Smith added.

Smith ended her international career in February 2015, played in two World Cups and four European Championships and was awarded an MBE for services to football in 2008.

While in the United States, Smith experienced personal difficulties stemming from a broken leg injury lay-off, including a drinking problem.

She says she is "older and wiser" now, and eager to make an impression as a coach.

"It's a whole new challenge, a new chapter," she said. "It's boots off and coaching cap on.

"I'll get my hand in at Arsenal and see where it takes me. I'm really looking forward to it. It'll be so different to what I've done before."

England's current manager Mark Sampson said: "She will be remembered as one of the greatest players to have played the game.

"I hope she will now go on to enjoy a wonderful career off the field."

And Smith is backing Sampson to continue to deliver success too, by driving the Lionesses to glory at Euro 2017 in the summer.

"I'm looking forward to it," she said. "The team are heading in the right direction and certainly they deserve to be among the favourites.

"There's a lot of expectations and pressure because of the bronze medal, more than ever before, and I hope they can live up to that."