Fara Williams put life on hold for World Cup squad place

Thursday 14 May 2015
Fara Williams has earned a record 139 England caps

Fara Williams put her life on hold to ensure she would be a part of Mark Sampson’s World Cup plans.

The 31-year-old midfielder was named in the England Women’s squad for this summer’s showpiece in Canada earlier this week.

But despite travelling to two previous World Cups – and being her country’s most-capped player of all-time – Williams never took her place for granted and did everything in her power to ensure her name was on the list.

Williams said: "When you’re younger you obviously have more time on your hands and more chances of being selected if you were to miss out.

"When I was younger, in the back of my head I knew that if I missed out on a World Cup or a Euros there would be another one round the corner.

"But for this one, I have trained harder than I ever have. I really have done all the right things.

"I sacrificed socialising with friends and family to put myself in the best possible place to be selected.

Fara Williams

Williams made her England debut against Portugal in November 2001

"I did everything I could, but the nerves were certainly there before I got the phone call. I was more nervous this time than before any previous call-up.

"But I’m as mentally and physically prepared as I’ve ever been."

A veteran of China 2007 and Germany 2011, as well as three European Championships and an Olympic Games, Williams has experienced her fair share of tournament football in her 14-year international career.

She scored England’s first goal in the last World Cup, in a 1-1 draw with Mexico, and knows the importance of avoiding defeat in the opening group game of a major finals.

First up for the Lionesses is France (Tuesday 9 June), followed by Mexico (13 June) and Colombia (17 June).

And Sampson has assembled his 23-player squad at St. George’s Park, the national football centre, for a pre-World Cup training camp.

Williams added: "We need to get out of the group first and foremost so we’ll be aiming to get off to a solid start against France.

"We’re all in camp now, working hard towards that opening game and we know we’ve got a busy few weeks ahead of us, but that’s what it’s all about.

"We are working towards a World Cup. That’s the pinnacle."

England fly to Canada on Monday 25 May and they will take on the host nation in a friendly in Hamilton, Ontario on Friday 29 May.

By Glenn Lavery at St. George's Park