Why Arsenal's Leah Williamson is perfect England captain?

England's Leah Williamson is fouled by North Macedonia's Julija Zivikj which results in a penalty ki

England's Leah Williamson is fouled by North Macedonia's Julija Zivikj which results in a penalty kick during the UEFA Qualifier match at St Mary's, Southampton. Picture date: Friday September 17, 2021. See PA story SOCCER England Women. Photo credit should read: John Walton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder. - Credit: PA

At the age of 24, being captain would be unthinkable for many footballers around the world – aside from on a games console. 

However, on Friday night that became a reality for Arsenal’s Leah Williamson and she kept the armband for Tuesday’s World Cup qualification clash away to Luxembourg. 

Williamson was chosen by new England head coach Sarina Wiegman to lead the team out in Friday nights 8-0 victory over North Macedonia in Wiegman’s first game in charge of the Lionesses.

Steph Houghton who was originally meant to captain the Lionesses in both games had to pull out of the squad due to injury, an opportunity that gave Williamson what she described as the “proudest moment of her life”.

The defender, who can also play in midfield, a position she started in Friday’s win has shown her leadership values from such a young age and isn’t afraid to direct the more experienced players in the team for both club and country.

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On being captain, she said: “This is the biggest honour in football, I’ve said a million times how proud I am to be English so it was very special. 

"I’m really happy that the fans were here and that my family were able to be here as well because it was probably just as important for them as it is for me.

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“Leading the team out will probably be the biggest honour of my life, I think I just laughed when Sarina Wiegman told me that I would be captain.

"I thought I was in trouble, so it was nice news to receive and it’s not necessarily something I would seek or has been on the agenda."

Williamson claimed an assist in the win over North Macedonia after a defence splitting pass picked out the run of Ella Toone, who made no mistake in slotting into the net to open the scoring. 

For such a young talent Williamson has a cool and calm head, something that shows in her play as she is very comfortable in possession of the football and her footballing brain is extremely intelligent.

The Arsenal number six picks passes that would maybe take other players a little bit longer to pick out ,as she is always thinking what to do next before she even receives the ball at her feet. 

England team-mate Demi Stokes said: “She’s very cool, very calm and most importantly she’s Leah and she just brings herself.

"That’s what we want in this team, to bring yourself and be comfortable with who you are and doing that even though you have the captains armband.”

Williamson is no stranger to captaining England as she has done so at youth level, but Friday night was a total different kettle of fish as she had the pressure of the whole country on her shoulders, but in typical fashion dealt with it in a professional manner. 

Every time she pulls on the England shirt she shows her passion and drive to perform for her country something that the Milton Keynes native has spoken about passionately in the past.

Williamson deserves this opportunity to captain her country as she is always verbal on the pitch bringing perfect leadership qualities to the table, and is a perfect example for the younger players coming up through the ranks of both club and country. 

In 2021 Williamson has also captained Arsenal in Kim Little’s absence, and was selected for Team GB at the summer Olympics in Tokyo.

It shows how hard she has worked on her game that she has been trusted to lead her country in both World Cup qualification fixtures, as she has already impressed the new head coach on the training pitch. 

Williamson has adapted very quickly into Jonas Eidevall’s system, showing once again how versatile she is and is allowed to advance further forward under the Swede. 

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