24 August 2022

Leah Williamson ‘heartbroken’ after Ellen White and Jill Scott retire

24 August 2022

Leah Williamson lauded the contributions of retiring England team-mates Ellen White and Jill Scott but acknowledged her feelings were bittersweet.

White, the Lionesses’ all-time top goalscorer, announced the end of her career on Monday, with Scott revealing her own departure from the game 24 hours later.

England captain Williamson, who just last month lifted the Euro 2022 trophy with White and Scott, agreed the stalwarts’ absence from the squad would be profoundly felt.

She said: “I couldn’t speak more highly of either of them and I’m heartbroken that they’ve left the game, but their legacy and what they’ve done and how they’ve finished their careers with that gold medal will live forever.

“Ellen is the ultimate professional, especially for me as a young kid being around her, and even watching her when I was in the academy at Arsenal and she played for the first team, she’s the person that has literally squeezed every ounce of ability, of fitness.

“Anything that she’s had to give the game, she’s got it out of herself. I think that motivates me a lot.

“I never wanted to, I always said I never wanted to finish my career and look back and say ‘what if?’ I don’t want to leave any stone unturned, so I think the mentality that she has is probably the thing I admire most about her. ”

White, 33, played for Arsenal from 2010-2013 while 25-year-old Williamson, a lifelong product of the Gunners’ academy, made her senior debut in 2014.

Former Manchester City striker White earned 113 caps and scored 52 goals for England, just one shy of tying Wayne Rooney’s all-time record, and was one of only four players to compete at both the London 2012 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Williamson was also quick to acknowledge the role fellow midfielder Scott, who last year became just the second woman to earn 150 caps for England, played in shaping her both on and off the pitch.

“Jill is, for me, in terms of how I see myself, in terms of how I see the game, she’s a model human being, which means quite a lot to me,” added Williamson, who played in defence during the Euros.

“Not just a footballer but a person as well, and I think to me she’s as incredible as Ellen in terms of she just doesn’t know when to stop.

“Off the pitch, her impact on me and how she’s helped me through certain situations, especially after I was given the England captaincy in April, her advice – and a lot of people say this about her – is stuff that we carry around with us every day and base who we want to be off of.”

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