Arsenal’s Leah Williamson has been named the new permanent captain of the English football team by head coach Sarina Wiegman. The 24-year-old replaces the injured Steph Houghton, who led the Lions for seven years.
For Williamson, who first wore the captain’s armband last September during the two Women’s World Cup matches against Northern Macedonia and Luxembourg, it was a peak of relegation that he also played for the U17, 19 and U20 teams in England.
Houghton of Manchester City was named captain by Mark Sampson in 2014 and led the Lionesses to the most consistent time in their international history to reach the semi-finals. She was also the face of the team as women’s soccer led to a change in safety and support over the past decade.
Houghton was sitting next to Wiegman at his first press conference ahead of the game last year after the new coach told the media he would not name his permanent captain until he got acquainted with the players. Houghton was told he would keep the armband in the September games but was forced to drop the games after his injury in the team’s final training session. He returned to play last month but suffered a setback that kept him out of the Arnold Clark trophy last month.
Speaking to Sky Sports before his injury, Houghton commented speculatively around the captain, “whether I have a belt or not, I will still be the leader I will always be for girls. . . . whatever decision (Sarina) makes and whatever it is, you will find the same person outside and outside the stadium, with or without the armband “.
Williamson’s nomination means Houghton will miss out on the opportunity to lead his country on home soil during next summer’s UEFA Women’s Euros in England. It would be her fourth major tournament as captain, equal to the record set by England’s longest-serving women’s captain, Faye White, who led the lions for ten years. During his seven years wearing the belt, Houghton has captained England more than 70 times, only with the men of the elite men’s team, Billy Wright and Bobby Moore, who have led the team in many sports.
Speaking today, Williamson said, “Steph Houghton is one of the country’s champions and following in his footsteps – and all these unique names that have led the team in the past – means a lot. Although I will be wearing a belt, I know we have a team full of leaders who are proud of my love for playing for our country. Whether I am a captain or not, I will never take anything for granted and I will always do my best in England every time I pull on a shirt. ”
As a White Man, Williamson was first promoted to general of England at the age of 24. Unlike White, William is not the captain of his team, a position held by former Scotland’s Kim Little. Thus, Williamson’s rise is similar to the appointment of David Beckham, who never played for Manchester United or Real Madrid, to lead the English men’s team in 2000.
Like Beckham, the talented Williamson has been trained to handle the responsibility of the news that accompanies England captaincy from a young age. As an 18-year-old, he has received national attention when he had to take another last-minute penalty five days after the first game after a technical error by the referee. After days of appeals, protests and media scrutiny, Williamson could have chosen to hand over responsibility to another player but showed his leadership qualities by re-establishing himself and scoring to secure a place for England’s U19 team in the final of the European Championships. “I did not want to put pressure on anyone,” he told me in 2017. “The focus was crazy. The way I see it, it was a penalty, one to kick the ball. I just had to do it. do the job”.
In contrast, Williamson impressed Wiegman for demonstrating his ability to authorize England against Northern Macedonia in September. One of the two identified players, Williamson instead allowed striker Ellen White to score points on the spot. “I left it to Leah,” Wiegman said after the game. “I left it to Leah and her, they decided, which was a very good choice and showed very good leadership, so I was very happy about that.”
Speaking to me last year, Ella Toone from Manchester United told me he was impressed with Leah’s leadership qualities during the October games. “He was a great captain. He ‘s a talker on the pitch but he’ s really cool, that’s what you want, a good balance. Leah is just Leah. , off and off the field. I can enjoy the time and play my way “.
Born in 1997, Williamson is one of the first generation of female soccer players to look to women, instead of men, as role models in the sport. Now, the captain of his country, he understands how important it is for girls to have women as soccer players who want to emulate them. “Having women on the top does not mean they can’t look up to men, but I think it is very important for young girls because it shows that they can be where I am now. Although, in the past. but it was not true that they would be able to become a soccer player and now there is evidence that this is happening. He thinks it is very important for young girls to be able to have role models for women “.