May 21, 2024

Leah Williamson: England captain 'fit and ready' to return

Leah Williamson will miss the 2023 Women's World Cup after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

England defender Leah Williamson is “fit and ready” to return for the first time in a year in Friday’s Euro 2025 qualifier against Sweden, England coach Sarina Wigman said.

Williamson suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in April 2023 and withdrew from the February Friends with a hamstring problem.

There were fresh fears of a knee injury during the Arsenal match Winning the Confederations Cup final over Chelsea Sunday.

“She's in a good place and ready,” Wegman said.

“We needed to control her a little bit. She had a full training session yesterday and will be on the pitch again today (Thursday).”

“This is really good. It's still in the building phase but it's in a good place – if it works today of course.”

Asked if Williamson would lead the team, Wegmann said: “If she plays, she's the leader. We just want to get through this training session and see how she is and how the team is.”

There was a blow for Manchester City goalkeeper Khiara Keating, who withdrew from the squad with a knee injury and was replaced by Southampton's Kayla Rendell, her first call-up to the first team.

All 23 available players trained at St George's Park on Thursday and will travel to London to face Sweden at Wembley.

Before the match, the Lionesses will wear training jerseys featuring their names in British Sign Language, to help make football more accessible.

Members of the England Women's Deaf Football Team – who finished third at the 2023 World Deaf Championships – will be introduced to fans at half-time.

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Wegman's team has been placed in a qualifying group featuring two of the top six teams in the world where they face France, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland, seeded third, sixth and twenty-fifth respectively.

The top two teams from Group A will automatically qualify for next summer's tournament, while the other two teams will enter the qualifiers.