01 August 2022

Leah Williamson hails veteran duo Jill Scott and Ellen White after historic win

01 August 2022

Captain Leah Williamson was keen to salute “people’s champion” Jill Scott and Ellen White after England’s historic Euro 2022 triumph.

The Lionesses beat Germany 2-1 after extra time at Wembley on Sunday to claim their first ever piece of major silverware.

Williamson lifted the trophy with vice-skipper Millie Bright, before swiftly turning to hand it to Scott and White so they could do the same.

Midfielder Scott, 35, has played for the team at eight major tournaments, including Euro 2009, the last time they reached a final.

And 33-year-old striker White – who, with 52 goals, lies one behind England’s all-time top-scorer Wayne Rooney – has featured for them at six.

Williamson said: “Jill Scott is the people’s champion. Ellen White, her England career and how close she has come at certain moments….

“That’s what we are as a team – those two people are just as important as anybody but I think they’re the ones that when they lift that trophy they deserve it the most, because of what they’ve done for the women’s game, and how they’ve been through the change.

I think they're the ones that when they lift that trophy they deserve it the most, because of what they've done for the women's game, and how they've been through the change.

“To stand up as European champions, I wanted them to take that moment in as well.”

After being beaten 6-2 by Germany in the 2009 final for their second Euros runners-up finish, England went on to make three successive major tournament semi-final exits, at the 2015 and 2019 World Cups – claiming third place at the former – and Euro 2017, before finally tasting glory on Sunday.

Scott is second on England’s all-time appearances list with 161 caps, with only former team-mate Fara Williams (172) holding more.

And Scott said of the Euros success: “It’s for every player that’s ever worn an England shirt. This is for them.

“It’s so nice that I got to see Fara Williams and I put (my medal) around her neck and said ‘this is yours as much as it is mine’. I didn’t want her to take it – she did give it us back which I was happy about!

“But it was a nice moment because all those players that have contributed to this team, that have given you advice over the years, Casey Stoney, Faye White, so many of them to mention, I really hope that they felt part of this special night.”

Scott was asked if it almost felt like a different sport now to in 2009, and she said: “I think it seems different for me every time I see a different team, and the players I’ve got to play with over the years.

“You have to remember with the 2009 team we weren’t full-time, we were just introducing and starting the process of being full-time England players. And then this is, not the end, but we’ve got the gold – and now we can push on.”

Scott (right) has made 161 appearances for England (Gareth Fuller/PA). (PA Wire)

Sunday’s game had a crowd of 87,192 – the biggest-ever attendance for any Euros match, men’s or women’s.

Scott added: “I hope now everybody can kind of get on board with women’s football, keep the support going and keep growing the game.

“You’ve seen how many people are interested in coming to the games and we need to capture that and keep hold of that.

“That’s always our aim, to inspire the next generation. Hopefully now we’ve got a gold medal I don’t have to pretend my bronze is gold when I go into schools now and do talks, I can actually show them my gold medal!”

With the victory meaning England could celebrate the first trophy for a senior side since the 1966 World Cup final victory over West Germany, Williamson was asked about comparisons with the skipper on that occasion, Bobby Moore.

And the 25-year-old defender said: “He’s a legend, isn’t he. I didn’t know that we were the same age at the point we’ve done this. But hey – he’s got the World Cup, he’s one up on me right?”

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