Sarina Wiegman issues injury update on Leah Williamson ahead of Euro qualifier

Sarina Wiegman issues injury update on Leah Williamson ahead of Euro qualifier

England boss Sarina Wiegman said Arsenal defender Leah Williamson is “in a good place” ahead of England’s Euro 2025 qualifier against Sweden on Friday, adding that if the 27-year-old plays in the match, “she is the captain”.

Williamson was substituted at half-time during Arsenal’s dramatic 1-0 League Cup final victory over Chelsea over the weekend. The substitution sparked concerns that the Lioness, who was forced to miss England’s World Cup campaign last summer due to an ACL injury, would be unavailable for England’s qualifier.

But Wiegman gave a positive update on Williamson’s progress while on camp with England, though Thursday’s training session would determine Wiegman’s decision to start the defender or continue to manage her minutes.

“She’s in a good place,” Wiegman told the media ahead of Friday’s match. “We have to manage her. She had a full training session yesterday and she’s on the pitch today.”

Williamson was appointed captain by Wiegman before the European Championship in 2022 but in her absence, Wiegman handed the captain’s armband to a number of players throughout the squad. Earlier this year when pressed on the captaincy amid Williamson’s return, Wiegman was ambivalent about automatically giving the armband back to Williamson.

However, in Thursday’s press conference, Wiegman confirmed that “if [Williamson] plays, she is the captain”, though she stressed that she will have to wait to determine the starting XI based on the day’s training session. “If she comes through today, of course.”

“It’s just really good that she’s back, first of all for herself because she’s so excited to come back, and she’s fit,” Wiegman added. “So 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 a better place.”

Leah Williamson was made England captain in 2022 ahead of the European Championships

Arsenal defender Leah Williamson was made England captain in 2022 ahead of the European Championships
Photo by Michael Regan – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

England face Sweden in their first Euro 2025 qualifier on Friday, before facing Republic of Ireland on Tuesday, as they bid to defend their European title.

It was during the triumphant Euro 2022 campaign in which England thrashed Sweden 4-0 in the semi-finals, with Beth Mead, Lucy Bronze, Alessia Russo and Fran Kirby finding the back of the net in a memorable and emphatic victory.

Asked whether the performance would provide any inspiration going into this year’s campaign, Wiegman stressed the importance of focussing on the present.

“We haven’t used that, that was then, it was a great moment but we move on. Lots of things have happened between that moment and now. Of course, we know Sweden very well, they know us very well too. So we’re preparing based on what we have seen lately from them and what we want to do and how we want to play.”

Wiegman confirmed that Manchester City’s Khiara Keating will not be a part of the upcoming qualifiers after feeling discomfort in her knee. Southampton’s Kayla Rendell has been called up from England’s under-23s to replace the City starlet, marking the 22-year-old’s first senior call-up for England.

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