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Leah has the Will to return but admits injury rehab is hard going
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Gavin Glicksman
Leah Williamson is working her way back to fitness
Leah Williamson is working her way back to fitness

England and Arsenal star Leah Williamson admits her recovery from a serious knee injury has not been an easy journey so far. 

The Lionesses skipper, 26, has ticked off seven months of what is expected to be a nine-month rehab programme after rupturing her ACL in April. 

In addition to missing the end of the 2022-23 Women's Super League campaign, she suffered the heartbreak of having to sit out the World Cup as Sarina Wiegman's side finished runners-up.

And being on the sidelines for so long has clearly taken its toll. 

Speaking to the BBC, Williamson said: "My life has turned from having the best job in the world to having to go and do something every single day that I don't want to do.

"Everyone thinks about injury as a thing that takes away your physical ability. 

"Everyone will talk about the fact I missed the World Cup or these real tangible things that come along with it. 

"But I actively don't want to be in this situation. It's not the easiest journey."

Williamson's injury came six months after team-mate Beth Mead suffered the same fate. 

The versatile defender added: "When you're a professional athlete and you have that stimulus all the time, you have that pressure all the time. 

"All of a sudden no one really cares what I'm doing. And there's no pressure on me to do anything at any point in my day. 

"Everything's at my own pace. Everything's on my own terms."

Williamson returned to the gym and individual training on the pitch with the Gunners in September. 

But with the process still some way from coming to an end, the England star has tried to make the most of her unwanted spare time. 

She said: "Despite wanting to be on the pitch, it's given me time to do different things and spend time with people I love.

"I've tried to do things that ultimately I can align with the pitch or my return to feel like I'm getting closer."

Williamson will be an interested spectator when Arsenal host league leaders Chelsea at the Emirates on Sunday. 


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