Leah Williamson ‘ready’ to feature for England in Euro qualifiers after Arsenal injury scare


Leah Williamson is “ready” to feature for England during their European Championship qualifiers — if she comes through Thursday’s training session unscathed.

Williamson, 27, had been a doubt for this month’s matches after she was replaced at half-time during Arsenal’s Continental Cup final victory over Chelsea on Sunday, with manager Jonas Eidevall explaining this was due to a “medical situation”.

Williamson captained England to their Euro 2022 success but has not featured for the Lionesses since suffering an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in April 2023, which forced her to miss last summer’s World Cup. She has been named in Sarina Wiegman’s last two squads but withdrew from February’s camp due to a hamstring injury.

“We needed to manage her a little bit,” Wiegman said on Thursday. “She had a full training session yesterday. She’ll be on the pitch today so that looks really good.

“Where she has come from, she’s still building (fitness) but she’s in a good place and ready if she comes through today.

“It’s just really good that she’s back, first of all for herself, because she’s so excited to come back, and then that means that she’s fit. It’s good to have another quality player in the squad, but I think we were in a good place already, and now we’re in an even better place.”

On Williamson captaining the side, Wiegman added: “Leah is our team captain. That will not change. But we want to get through this training session first and then see what final decisions we make for tomorrow.”

Southampton’s Kayla Rendell, meanwhile, has earned her first call-up to the senior side, replacing Khiara Keating the squad due to the Manchester City goalkeeper’s knee issue.

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GO DEEPER

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Explaining Williamson’s substitution during the Continental Cup final win, Eidevall said: “She had a medical situation and possibly could have carried on but it would have been very borderline and risky that she would have sustained something serious by doing that.

“Leah Williamson is Arsenal through and through. She would put her body on the pitch any day of the week but I had to take that decision for her. That’s when you need to take decisions with players who will never make those decisions themselves, they’re going to go on the pitch anyway. I thought Leah was great in the first half but we were forced to do it from a medical situation.”

England play Sweden at Wembley on April 5 before playing Republic of Ireland on April 9 as they begin the defence of their European Championship title.

Millie Bright partnered Williamson at centre-back at Euro 2022 and captained the side in her absence at the World Cup, but she is also missing for April’s fixtures due to a knee injury that has sidelined her since November.

Alex Greenwood, Jess Carter, Lotte Wubben-Moy and Esme Morgan have all featured at centre-back in the pair’s absence.

(Richard Pelham/Getty Images)





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