Milton Keynes-born footballer Leah Williamson has been named as the new captain of the England team ahead of this summer’s Women’s European Championships.
Williamson succeeds Steph Houghton, with the 33-year-old Manchester City player having not played for England in over a year and missing out on upcoming games through injury.
The news was confirmed by England manager Sarina Wiegman at a press conference earlier this week ahead of the team’s World Cup qualifiers against Macedonia on Friday (08/04) and Northern Ireland on Tuesday (12/04).
25-year-old defender/midfielder Williamson, who went to Ousedale school in Newport Pagnell and who plays her club football for WSL title challengers Arsenal, has captained the England team in recent matches, including in the recent Arnold Clark Cup in matches against Spain, Germany and Canada. She has received 27 caps for England.
Williamson described the news in a press conference as a great honour. She said, “This is an incredibly proud moment for me and my family.
“I am honoured to be asked to lead us at the Euros. Steph Houghton is one of this country’s all-time greats and to follow in her footsteps – and all of those special names who have led the team in the past – means so much.
“Although I will be wearing the armband, I know we have a squad full of leaders who share my pride and passion in playing for our country. Whether I am captain or not, I will never take anything for granted and will always do my best for England every time I pull on the shirt.”
Chelsea’s Millie Bright will be the new vice-captain, while striker Ellen White was confirmed as third-in-line.
Wiegman said, “This decision gives us continuity at this important final period as we build towards the tournament. It is important we give everyone clarity at this stage.
“Leah has been a great leader for us and I know she will continue to set the example we need in her work on and off the pitch. While I know this is significant news for our fans, for me the most important thing is that we work hard in training and perform to the best we can in our matches as a team. The main thing is we are ready for our World Cup qualifiers and then the EURO this summer.”
England begin their European Championship campaign against Austria at Old Trafford on July 6th. Their group is completed by Norway and Northern Ireland.