Women's Euros: England captain Williamson does not think COVID-19 will 'derail' Lionesses

By Sports Desk July 20, 2022

Leah Williamson is hopeful that England manager Sarina Wiegman will be in the dugout for Wednesday's Women's European Championship quarter-final against Spain.

Wiegman missed the final group game against Northern Ireland after testing positive for COVID-19, though England had already qualified as Group A winners prior to the 5-0 victory in Southampton.

The Dutch coach will need to test negative before the last-eight clash at Brighton and Hove Albion's Amex Stadium, and is not the only member of the England camp to test positive, with goalkeeper Hannah Hampton being ruled out of the Spain game for the same reason on Tuesday.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of the game, Lionesses captain Williamson acknowledged the frustration of being affected by COVID, but believes the squad preparation means they should not be too adversely affected.

"It's frustrating. For somebody like Hannah, we want her around the team and it's disappointing for her to miss out," Williamson said. "And obviously, Sarina, we'll see how that that works out.

"Ideally, you'd have everybody available, but I think we're lucky that we're such a well-prepared team. Despite the frustration, I think it doesn't derail us at all, which is obviously a massive sort of well done to the staff and everybody around the team for making sure it doesn't."

England eased through the group stage, beating Austria 1-0 at Old Trafford in the opening game before thrashing Norway 8-0 in Brighton to secure their place atop the group, and Williamson had words of praise for Wiegman, who has made a big impact on the Lionesses.

Since her appointment in September, England have won 15 and drawn two of her first 17 outings, scoring a remarkable 98 goals while conceding only three.

"Obviously, it'll be a massive, massive bonus for us [if Wiegman is present]," Williamson said. "Sarina's experience and character speaks for itself, and she's great at connecting with us.

"Obviously, it's great to have her influence, and it's not changed anything in terms of the information that she provides, but naturally having her around the team is a good thing as well.

"I think we're sturdy enough to survive without her, as we showed the other day, but I think to have her back [would] be great, obviously."

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