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Williamson hits out at 'unsustainable' women's football schedule
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PA Sport staff
Press Association
Leah Williamson is working her way back to full fitness
Leah Williamson is working her way back to full fitness

England and Arsenal star Leah Williamson fears the hectic schedule of women's football could lead to more serious injuries. 

Lionesses skipper Williamson, 26, was forced to miss last summer’s World Cup — where Sarina Wiegman's side finished runners-up — after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament in April. 

Earlier this month, Sam Kerr sustained an ACL injury during Chelsea's warm weather training in Morocco, leaving the Australia forward with her own lengthy spell of rehabilitation. 

UEFA have launched an initiative to investigate and better understand ACL injuries in the women's game, which have also impacted England forward Beth Mead and two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas. 

And Euro 2022 winner Williamson feels more must be done to manage player workload going forward. 

In an interview with The Telegraph, she said: "We're not bred for this. Nowadays we get to October and girls are saying, 'I'm tired' because you're carrying so much from the previous season. 

"Ultimately, I think the way you're taking women's football right now, you won't be able to increase the ticket prices or get bigger crowds in the stadiums because you won't have players to watch. 

"We are driving ourselves into the ground with it, so some sort of solution needs to be found soon, in terms of the schedule, otherwise it's not sustainable."

A total of 37 players sat out the World Cup because of ACL injuries and Williamson hopes a better balance can be struck in future international calendars. 

She added: "Everything is done the wrong way round when we do the schedule. 

"I've been in some of these meetings now and listened to the process and I still don't understand how, when something is bad, why it's not taken so seriously. 

"When they — FIFA, UEFA, all the main people — do the scheduling, it should always be, 'Rest first'.

"At the end of the World Cup, some of the girls came back and had five days off. Five days... after getting to the final. It's impossible. It's unsustainable.

"Put in time when neither club nor country can touch a player and just let them have a rest."


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