Arsenal boss Montemurro ‘very proud’ of Williamson

Tottenham Hotspur's Rianna Dean (right) and Arsenal's Leah Williamson battle for the ball during the

Tottenham Hotspur's Rianna Dean (right) and Arsenal's Leah Williamson battle for the ball during the FA Women's Super League match at Meadow Park, London. - Credit: PA

Joe Montemurro was “very proud” of Leah Williamson after she made her 150th Arsenal appearance in Wednesday night’s 5-4 penalty shootout win over Tottenham Hotspur in the Continental Cup.

Vivianne Miedema and Caitlin Foord netted against their north London rivals, before the spot-kick success.

And speaking to the Australian said: “We’re very proud, she personifies everything we’re trying to do at the club, she’s an amazing character who wants to be better and is so humble, it’s incredible to be part of her development.

“I’m proud that we’ve given her the opportunities and we trust her and we hope she has many more games for us.”

Williamson made her Arsenal debut when she came on for Rachel Yankey in Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat to Birmingham City in the Champions League quarter-final in 2014.

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And she has been a pivotal part of the side since, winning five major honours and making eight Cup final appearances.

It was also a memorable night for Swiss International Lia Wälti who made her 50th appearance for Arsenal, with Montemurro adding: “We can all appreciate the opportunity to see Lia Wälti in the Arsenal shirt but also the way she conducts herself and how important she is for the team.

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“She’s infectious and when she’s not playing, you notice it she’s an important part of what we’re trying to achieve and she’s an amazing person to work with. I’m blessed to be working with both Leah Williamson and Lia Wälti.”

Kim Little was brought off at half-time and explaining that decison after she played 90 minutes against Chelsea at the weekend, Montemurro said: “She’s totally fine, it was pre-planned. The plan was to manage everyone coming back from injury.

“We wanted to give them game stimulus back to make sure we got them off at the right time. We actually wanted to get Jill Roord off earlier and we wanted to give Lisa Evans 45 minutes too.”

Arsenal were ahead at the break through Miedema’s goal but the second half saw Tottenham equalise and on the transition between the first and second periods performance-wise Montemurro said: “First half was very, very good. I think it was one of the best halves of the season to be honest, we were in complete control.

“But when you have to tinker with personnel it takes the rhythm a bit all credit to Tottenham they pushed us back more in the second half and got the rewards for it.”

Montemurro was then asked if the game meant more to Spurs than Arsenal, having suffered two heavy derby defeats already this season, and replied: ”We go out to play every game in the best possible manner to win, it was always going to be very, very tough to get into the next round with the amount of goals we needed and relying on results elsewhere.

“We did want to use it as a game to bring players back in and start reintroducing players coming back from rehab while also keeping an eye on players who are coming back because they will be going on international duty now.”

On preparing for the game that Arsenal needed to win by a big scoreline Montemurro said: ”The only thing we knew is that we had to win by four goals or more but it was always going to be difficult with the various scenarios and with games postponed, so we didn’t know.

“We compete in every tournament to win it and we have been in the final every year I have been here but maybe it’s a blessing in disguise because we know the fixture list is pretty brutal this year.

“The game was valuable to get players back in but it’s also a learning curve for us to ascertain our standards at all times because in the second half we didn’t keep our standards.”

Arsenal players now go into an international break and are back in action on December 5 against Birmingham City.

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