England Women

Leah Williamson: Sarina Wiegman & Millie Bright on what she offers as England captain

Ali Rampling
Williamson has been named England captain for Euro 2022
Williamson has been named England captain for Euro 2022 / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Sarina Wiegman and Millie Bright have both praised the way that Leah Williamson conducts herself on and off the pitch after the Arsenal defender was named England captain ahead of Euro 2022.

Williamson has worn the armband throughout Wiegman's tenure, with long-term captain Steph Houghton sidelined with an achilles injury.

Houghton is expected to miss the remainder of the domestic season and faces a race to be fit for Euro 2022, and this ambiguity over whether she will make the squad was pivotal in Wiegman's decision to name her captain now.

"I wanted to have clarity in the squad at this point," the England boss explained. "I think Leah did a great job, she's a very good player, she connects people on and off the pitch - that's why I made her the captain."

Much like Harry Kane in the men's set up, Williamson is not captain for her club, with Kim Little wearing the armband for Arsenal. However, she has captained her country at youth level, and demonstrated her leadership skills and ability to shoulder responsibility in pretty extreme fashion when representing England Under-19s in 2015.

The centre half famously had to re-take a penalty against Norway five days after it had incorrectly been ruled out, with England's qualification to the Under-19 European Championships hingeing on the success of the spot kick.

The incident attracted a flurry of media attention, but Williamson was able to shut out the noise and successfully dispatch from 12 yards out (again).

"I'm extremely proud of Leah, I must say she's been absolutely amazing," Bright said. "Fully deserved, I think [because of] the way she carries herself on and off pitch."

Williamson will miss England's World Cup qualifier against North Macedonia as she is following concussion protocols - Wiegman described the 24-year-old as 'doing well' but admitted she was reluctant to take any risks with her.

Bright will likely wear the armband after the Chelsea centre back was named England vice captain, and said the pair work well together in their leadership positions.

"It's just natural, we don't have to work too hard on being on the same page and we get on really well," Bright added. "I think we have the same mindset on the pitch: front footed. I think I might be a little bit louder than Leah. I think we work off each other really well. [I'm] really looking forward to building that relationship on and off the pitch and hopefully bringing success."