Women's Senior
Women's Senior

Leah Williamson on Kelly Smith, Jessica Ennis-Hill and World Cup dreams

Wednesday 24 Oct 2018
Leah Williamson made her senior England debut against Russia in June

England fans took to Twitter to quiz Leah Williamson, one of the newest members of Phil Neville’s squad.

The 21-year-old scoured all the questions and picked out some of the best ones…

Who inspired you to play the game and what advice would you give to a younger you?

Within football it was definitely Kelly Smith, but also Thierry Henry just because of his love for Arsenal, which I have as well.

Outside of football it was Jessica Ennis-Hill. I just thought she was absolutely amazing. I grew up watching her and admiring her, and it just so happened that I was better at football than athletics! Jess really inspired me to be the best that I could be.

England v Sweden
  • A Women's International
  • 1.30pm, Sunday 11 November
  • New York Stadium, Rotherham
And one piece of advice I’d give to a younger me would simply be to play football as often as you can. If I had had a ball at my feet more often when I was younger, even in the garden, I’d definitely be a better player for it now.

Who is the best striker you’ve faced?

That’s a really good question because I have come up against a lot of good ones!

However, I would have to say Kelly Smith in training. She was unstoppable. You never knew what she was going to do. She was very hard to play against, even though it was only training.

I have to mention Vivianne Miedema as well. Viv can do anything with the ball and she could leave you for dead at any minute. Unpredictable players, like Kelly and Viv, are the hardest to face.

Have you been given any advice from footballers who have played in the World Cup?

I have been lucky enough to have spoken to quite a few players about it. The biggest thing I’ve taken from them is to make the most of the opportunity if it ever arises.

World Cups only come around once every four years and you might not get another chance. It’s the tournament of all tournaments and you don’t want to have any regrets.

Alex Scott says it is the biggest stage and the one you want to perform on.


How do you get past the mental side of coming back from an injury when the physical recovery is done?

It’s very difficult. Everyone copes with injury differently but every player finds it tough to be out for any length of time.

Williamson signs autographs after the Australia friendly at Craven Cottage

You have to take it one day at a time because you don’t know how you’re going to feel on any given day. You’ll have good days and bad days, but that’s OK; it’s life.

What do you love best about playing for England?

I’m very patriotic and playing for England is all I’ve ever wanted to do. I love everything about England and I feel so proud every time I go out there and represent my country.


If you weren’t a footballer what would you be and why?

The boring answer would be an accountant or a historian, which are things I actually am good at.

But I would have liked to have done something in the music industry; maybe a DJ or a dancer, something like that. Very contrasting things!

By FA Staff