England captain Leah Williamson will miss the World Cup after it was confirmed she has ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament.
Williamson suffered the injury during Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester United in the Women’s Super League on Wednesday after catching her studs in the turf at Leigh Sports Village.
With the World Cup starting on July 20, Lionesses head coach Sarina Wiegman will need to consider her other options at centre-back without Williamson, who helped lead her country to European Championships glory on home soil last year.
A statement from Arsenal on Friday confirmed the diagnosis, saying: “We can confirm that Leah Williamson suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in our Barclays Women’s Super League match against Manchester United on Wednesday night.
“Leah was substituted in the first half of the game at Leigh Sports Village and underwent further assessment on Thursday to determine the extent of the injury.
“Leah will now begin a period of rehabilitation and is set for an extended spell on the sidelines. She will undergo surgery in due course.
“Everyone at Arsenal will be supporting Leah closely throughout the journey ahead and we would ask that her privacy is respected at this time.”
It is the same injury sustained by Williamson’s club and country team-mate Beth Mead in November, with Mead in a race against time to make it back in time for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Reacting at a press conference, boss of Arsenal’s WSL title rivals Manchester City, Gareth Taylor, said: “It’s obviously not good for Leah or for Arsenal or for England as well.”
Taylor backed Williamson to come back strongly, saying: “She’s young, she’s capable enough of recovering,” and pointed out the injury was “very similar to what happened with Chloe [Kelly] two seasons ago”, with the striker able to return to action and hit England’s winner in the European Championship final against Germany last July.
We can confirm that Leah Williamson suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament on Wednesday night.
We’re all right behind you, @leahcwilliamson
— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) April 21, 2023
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