Newsbeat

Women's World Cup: Leah Williamson on playing for England

Leah Williamson being interviewed in front of a camera wearing an England sports jacket Image copyright Getty Images

"I think you interviewed me and my best mate Mason at the Euros two years ago".

Not an unusual start to an interview, given I was chatting with England footballer Leah Williamson. Yet the circumstances in which we met in the Netherlands in 2017 were.

Leah was in Utrecht as an England fan - and if memory serves me her friend did most of the talking!

Fast forward two years though and Leah's both ready to talk and getting ready to play at her first World Cup.

"I've been stressing about this for a year now so to finally be in the squad I'm relieved," Leah tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

The 22-year-old only made her England debut a year ago and has enjoyed an impressive season with her club Arsenal.

The defender, who's been with the Gunners since the age of eight, helped them win the WSL title before finding out she had made Phil Neville's England squad for France.

"We had an email the day before it was announced to the public from Phil," she explains.

"It said 'I'm delighted to confirm', and then I didn't actually read the rest of it because that's all I cared about.

"Then the next day the FA asked Ian Wright to announce my place in the squad publically, which was really special for me and my family."

While Leah (literally) had an eye on the England squad when we met back in 2017, her dream of playing at this World Cup had already started.

She'd apparently targeted a place in the squad after watching the 2015 tournament and being convinced England would win the next one.

"My family know how much I've sacrificed for this moment, I missed my cousin's wedding back in April to be on an England camp.

"It's special moments you miss out on because I have this dream."

Image copyright Inpho
Image caption Leah says she's relieved to have finally made the England squad

England finished third in Canada and then lost in the semi-finals at Euro 2017 - before winning this year's She Believes Cup.

Leah and her England teammates go into their opening game against Scotland as one of the tournament favourites.

But given she was the one doing the watching at the last major tournament - who will be doing it this time?

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Leah says her family is travelling to France to watch her play

"My mum ordered a big van from work so she's driving everybody over," Leah explains.

"Tell you what, there are people chomping at the bit to get a seat on that bus."

If Leah's dream comes true, they'll have to make room for a winners' medal on the way back.

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