Leah Williamson of England England v Spain Women's International Friendlies football match, County Ground Stadium, Swindon, UK - 09 Apr 2019 Photo: Lynne Cameron for The FA

No room for sentiment for Williamson ahead of huge opener in Nice

Leah Williamson will be putting all of her club friendships on hold ahead of England’s FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 opener against Scotland on Sunday.

The Arsenal defender will face-off against team-mates Kim Little and new signing Jen Beattie as The Lionesses look to get off to a winning start.

Midfielder Little missed the 2017 UEFA Women’s Euros, but Williamson believes that the Scottish international ranks amongst the best players in the world.

She told Sam Ward of the University of Derby Football Journalism course “Kim is, in my opinion, one of the best players in the world. I see that every single week in training at Arsenal.

“We need to win that game in the midfield because Kim is an influential player. We highlighted her as a stand-out and I’m glad we have; we do need to be weary of her.”

The 22-year-old defender was also aware of the threat of other FA Women’s Super League players amongst the Scotland squad.

She said: “I think we know that, Erin Cuthbert, Caroline Weir, Kim Little, they’re all very technical players which is the way that we aim to play as well. We just need to nullify their threat.”

Williamson will also be playing against her new Arsenal teammate Beattie and was pleased to see her sign for the club but admitted she will not be thinking about that until after the game.

She stated “Bringing somebody like Jen in, she’s a winner. She’s won with Man City and won before that with Arsenal.

“Until after Sunday, we are rivals so no friendship yet.”

England were rampant the last time the two sides played, winning 6-0 at the 2017 UEFA Women’s European
Championship. Williamson was in no doubt that the Scots would pose a much bigger threat this time round.

She said: “The Euros is not really relevant because they had so many players missing, but I think they’re up for it.

“They’ll feel that they’re the underdogs but the respect we’re giving to them we’ll be on level playing fields for 90 minutes and see who comes out on top.”

The Lionesses kick-off their FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 campaign on Sunday (5PM BST) and Williamson will be hoping she can get the better of her Arsenal teammates.

By Sam Ward (@Sam_Ward00)

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