Leah Williamson: New Arsenal deal is ‘a dream come true’
England international Leah Williamson said it is a “dream come true” to have signed a new contract at Arsenal.
The 24-year-old has committed her future to the Gunners having signed a one-year deal last summer amid speculation she was set to leave the club.
The PA news agency understands her new contract with the Women’s Super League leaders is longer than the 12-month agreement from last year.
Williamson, who plays in defence but can also operate in central midfield, is currently out injured with a hamstring issue suffered in the north London derby draw at Tottenham in November.
“It’s a dream come true,” she said.
“It was a dream come true the first time that I signed here and the feeling hasn’t changed. I’m as grateful as ever to have the opportunity to do what I do here – at home – and I’m very proud to continue to represent my family playing for Arsenal and to wear the badge.”
She joined Arsenal at the age of nine and has gone on to earn 24 England caps, captaining the Lionesses for the first time earlier this season.
Williamson’s future was in doubt last year after the club failed to challenge for major honours, although she eventually signed a one-year deal.
Under new head coach Jonas Eidevall, Arsenal now sit top of the WSL and face a Women’s Champions League quarter-final clash with Wolfsburg in March.
Speaking to the PA news agency in November, Williamson said she was pleased with the ambition shown to improve on and off the pitch.
“I don’t think anybody would have expected it to have gone so well at the start the season, so it’s a great sign,” she said.
“But obviously behind the scenes, we’re working hard as a player group, I know that it goes all the way up to the top at Arsenal in terms where do we want to go, where do we want to be and can we do that?
Last summer, taking the contract down to the wire in the end was scary to me because I love this football club. I’ve always been vocal about that
“The answer to everything so far has been ‘yes’ and we are trying to put the club back to where it should be, which is consistently competing and bringing trophies back to north London.”
Asked if any decision over a new contract would be made easier by such changes, Williamson replied: “Yes, you’re right.
“Last summer, taking the contract down to the wire in the end was scary to me because I love this football club. I’ve always been vocal about that.”
She has now committed to Arsenal, with Eidevall pleased to have Williamson among his plans beyond the current season.
“It’s wonderful news that Leah has signed a new deal,” he said.
“As well as being a key player for us right now, she is also an integral part of our plans for the future – a player for us to build Arsenal around and show the young women in our academy what can be achieved through hard work, dedication and passion.
“I know Leah has a special bond with the fans too – it’s so important for the supporters to identify with the players and they certainly have that in Leah.”
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