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England captain Leah Williamson to miss Women’s World Cup after suffering knee injury

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England captain Leah Williamson is to miss this year’s Women’s World Cup after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) while playing for her club Arsenal, the defender announced Friday via Instagram.

Williamson suffered the injury during the first half of the team’s game against Manchester United on Wednesday, according to the club’s statement.

“Until I have the words to express my feelings properly I will struggle to verbalise them. The noise around the situation is loud and I need some quiet to let it all sink in,” Williamson wrote.

“Unfortunately the World Cup and Champions League dream is over for me and everyone will think that’s the main focus, but it’s the day-to-day of what I’m about to go through that is the most draining of my thoughts.”

Arsenal is due to play the first leg of its Women’s Champions League semifinal against German team Wolfsburg on Sunday.

Williamson’s post continued, “I haven’t had a day since last October when I’ve walked on to the pitch without a physical or mental question mark over me, and that’s professional sports.

“So now I have to listen to my body, give it what it needs and if everything happens for a reason, then we’ll see what road this turn takes me down.”

Arsenal’s announcement said the club “will be supporting Leah closely throughout the journey ahead and we would ask that her privacy is respected at this time.”

Williamson’s Arsenal teammates Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema have also suffered from ACL injuries this season and Mead believes more needs to be done to analyze why these injuries are so common in women’s soccer.

Speaking to FIFPRO, the 27-year-old said: “I think it’s important that we as a collective try and get more done for ACLs and research into it.

“I think it’s way too common in the women’s game. I think if that had happened in the men’s game, a lot more would have been done sooner. It’s important for us to drive the different factors and aspects around why it’s happening so often.”

England’s official account also showed their support for Williamson and tweeted, “We’re with you every step of the way.”

Williamson captained the Lionesses to their first ever major tournament victory in July, as the Sarina Wiegman-managed team defeated Germany at Wembley Stadium, London, in the final of Euro 2022.

England won another trophy on April 6, defeating Brazil in the inaugural women’s Finalissima, a one-off contest between the European and South American champions, again at Wembley Stadium.

The 2023 Women’s World Cup runs from July 20 through to August 20 and will be held in Australia and New Zealand.

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