07/06/2022

Leah Williamson spoke about the importance of the respect shown by the England women’s team after they were given priority access to main court at St George’s Park.

Sarina Wegman’s lionesses, who are preparing for the domestic finals for this summer’s European Championship, trained at Sir Bobby Charlton’s base at Burton upon Trent on Tuesday while Gareth Southgate’s men’s team played Nations League matches, and did so elsewhere on the site.

“Obviously this is an important thing,” said Williamson, the captain. “We are on a journey, women’s football is on a journey and we are on the rise, and we are fighting for it in all areas as best we can.

“But the respect he showed us and the respect he showed for our championship, considering that we have Euros in the summer and the preparation and the facilities we have access to… If I had gone a few years ago it wouldn’t have been the case, and that’s just a fact. So the fact that this is now [happening] A big step in the right direction.”

When asked if this England squad is the best preparation for a major tournament, Williamson said: “Yes, I think so.”

Southgate and Harry Kane watched two sessions on the court on Monday.

Wegmann has a provisional squad of 28 players for the tournament, which begins on July 6 with the England-Austria match at Old Trafford. That number is expected to drop to 23 finals next week before the preliminary matches against Belgium at Molineux, the Netherlands at Elland Road and Switzerland in Zurich on June 16, 24 and 30.

Former captain Steve Houghton, who is recovering from ankle surgery and has not played since January, attended training on Tuesday before missing out as planned. The same is true of Fran Kirby, who has been out since February due to a fatigue problem.