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

‘An incredible opportunity to get on a podium’ – Arsenal’s Williamson on Team GB prospects

Arsenal defender Leah Williamson says that the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 provides the Team GB squad with an excellent opportunity to get on the podium and receive a medal.

The 24-year-old centre-back is one of 18 players named in Hege Riise’s final squad which will fly out to Japan in July.

Speaking in a Team GB media day in which FAWSL Full-Time were present, Williamson said that the Games provide the team with a unique opportunity to get on a podium and win a medal.

“I’m very lucky to have been born into a generation of footballers with my national team that have a real prospect of winning things,” the defender said.

“The talent that is there is incredible at the minute, so to then literally bring in – it’s almost like a hybrid team isn’t it – to then bring in three of the best of British footballers around on top of the players that I already know, I think it’s an incredible opportunity for everyone to actually get on a podium and we’ll be going to win it, why wouldn’t we?

“We have to have those ambitions because of the talent that’s in the squad.”

Williamson was just 15 years of age when the Olympic Games came to London in 2012. Looking back on that occasion, Williamson commented on the efforts that her family made to attend some of the events while saying that participating in the Games herself one day was always a dream.

“My Dad at the time did a really good job, it was a ballot for the tickets and you didn’t know what you were going to get,” she said. “If we’d got everything we’d applied for, we would have been skint by the end of the summer. We managed to get to a few events that were great and we ended up in the Olympic village on Super Saturday.

“I’m very sentimental, everybody knows I’m a bit of an old romantic as well. I believe in fate and all of those things so to be there when Greg Rutherford – who is also from Milton Keynes – is winning the gold medal inside the stadium and I’m sitting on a park bench outside… we had no reason to stay but we just wanted to be there and be in the atmosphere all day. It was probably one of the best days of my life in terms of the memories that I’ve got from that.

“I’ve always said that it’s a difficult question ‘Would you rather be an Olympian or win a World Cup?’ but I just think for me, growing up, this was always something that felt like it was slightly further away and it give me all the more reason to want to achieve it, so like I say, it’s so surreal to be here now.

“I always had a glimmer of hope. I was always considering what other sport I could do to get myself to be in a position to be an Olympian and then settled on football so to actually be here is pretty cool.”

Williamson is one of two Arsenal players to be named in the Team GB squad, Scotland’s Kim Little being the other. Fellow centre-back Lotte Wubben-Moy is one of four reserve players who will travel to Tokyo with the squad.

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