Leah Williamson has said that she doesn’t mind being a role model for women in sport after her heroics for England at this summer’s Euros.
The 25-year-old was the Lionesses’ skipper as Sarina Wiegman’s side went all the way to secure England’s first international trophy since the men’s team won the World Cup in 1966.
Defeating Germany at Wembley Stadium was a huge on-field achievement, but more than anything, it was a landmark moment for women’s football and sport as a whole.
While the Arsenal midfielder acknowledged that being a role model comes with the territory of being a professional footballer, Williamson believes that it’s her duty to use her platform for the good of women both inside and outside of football.
Speaking to Lianne Sanderson on Gameday Countdown, Williamson said: “When you decide you’re going to become a professional women’s footballer you don’t really have a choice with all of that.
“I was lucky because I had a family who put all of those role models in front of my face, but for a lot of girls it was a lot harder and they had to search for those inspirational people to look up to.
“I don’t mind that responsibility at all. We still have a long way to go because the game has come a long way, but there’s still a long way to go and I don’t want to ever look back and think that I could have done more to get more girls involved and inspire more people.
“Even if they don’t want to become professional footballers, in this competition we wanted to come across as human beings who had a good time and enjoy what we do while also being successful.
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“You can do both and that’s ultimately what we achieved which I’m really proud of because not everybody wants to become a professional footballer but to look up to us and see women going after what they want and being able to achieve it.”
With the Lionesses’ Euro glory now behind them, Williamson says that she’s ready to get back into the swing of things with Arsenal, at least after enjoying a short break.
She said: “When it comes to the WSL, don’t get me wrong I’m taking my time off. It’s been a crazy couple of months and there’s been a lot to deal with and a lot of change made but when I go back to Arsenal I’ll be ready.
“I can’t give anything less than everything I have to them because I love being there.”
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