20 August 2022

It’s the big boy – Leah Williamson dreaming of adding World Cup to Euro 2022 win

20 August 2022

England skipper Leah Williamson is dreaming of adding the World Cup to the Lionesses’ Euro 2022 success.

A point against Austria in their penultimate qualifier next month will secure the Group D leaders’ passage to the finals in Australia and New Zealand in 2023, where Arsenal’s Williamson will hope once again to lift the trophy.

Asked if England could win the World Cup, the 25-year-old told Sky Sports’ Saturday Social show: “Before the Euros, we had a dream and we focused on the day every day to then even get in a position to go and be able to do it. Then once we got to that final, obviously we just made sure we turned up and brought it home.

It's the big boy, isn't it? We need to be ready.

“I think with the World Cup, it will be the same. From now until then, it’s a dream – of course it’s a dream – but everybody that goes there will want to win it.

“It’s the big boy, isn’t it? We need to be ready.”

Williamson, under manager Sarina Wiegman, led the Lionesses to their first major title in front of a crowd of 87,192 at Wembley last month when they beat Germany 2-1 in extra time.

However, she knows repeating the feat Down Under, where holders the United States will be hoping to win the title for a third successive time, would represent an even bigger achievement.

England skipper Leah Williamson is dreaming of World Cup glory (Danny Lawson/PA) (PA Wire)

She said with a smile: “I’d probably retire, just pack it in there.”

England’s march to glory this summer captured the imagination of the public with packed stadiums and massive television viewing figures – a peak audience of 17 million watched the final – reflecting the growing popularity of the women’s game.

Nevertheless, Williamson was quick to emphasise that there is much work still to be done.

She said: “The growth of women’s football is so quick, but also we have so much further to go, so we’re constantly trying to evolve the game and take it to the level that it needs to be to compete on the world stage, which obviously we’ve now done.

“But I just think there’s so much more room for growth as well that we have to just keep pushing so that when we do something like this, it does feel like more than a trophy because it’s not just 90 minutes on the pitch, it’s an everyday choice that we make to commit to growing the game.”

That said, Williamson admits the events of a glorious summer are yet to fully sink in.

She said: “No, not one bit. I don’t want it to ever sink in. The day I wake up and I go a day without thinking about it, it will be a sad day.”

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