Helen Ward is “honoured” to be given the Watford Ladies captaincy and says her “love for the club and being part of a longer term project” were key reasons behind her decision to remain with the Golden Girls.

The Hornets announced this afternoon that Wales’ record scorer had agreed to stay at the club and will become skipper as they get ready for life in the FA Women’s National League South.

With Wales one victory away from qualifying for the World Cup last summer, Ward admitted in an interview with the Watford Observer last month that she may have to leave the club she started her career with after they dropped down to the third tier of the English game.

But the Watford fan, who has played in the top flight with Arsenal, Chelsea and Reading, has chosen to stay and she tweeted: “I’m delighted to have signed a new deal and honoured to have been given the captaincy. Some may question my decision to remain and that’s fine but this is about my love for the club and being part of a longer term project. Thanks for the messages. Can’t wait to get started.”

Hornets head coach Armand Kavaja told the club website: “We are absolutely delighted that Helen will be with us next season.

“She is a leader both on and off the pitch, and has vast experience in the game. To have secured her signature for at least another season shows the positive direction we are heading in.

“The young players here will learn a great deal from Helen, and she will undoubtedly be a great asset for us on the pitch. Along with calibre of players we have been able to recruit and retain, we are all looking forward to what we hope will be an extremely positive season.”