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Arnold Clark Cup

England have potentially underachieved in the last few tournaments, says Lionesses captain Williamson

12:47 IST 16/02/2022
Leah Williamson England 2021-22
The Lionesses were knocked out in the semi-finals of the Women’s World Cup in 2015 and 2019, as well as at the 2017 Euros

England have “potentially underachieved” in their most recent tournament outings, believes captain Leah Williamson, who insists the team are eager to “turn that around” ahead of this summer’s Euros.

Sarina Wiegman’s side will begin their preparation for that tournament, to be played on English soil, with this month’s Arnold Clark Cup, taking on three elite opponents in Spain, Germany and Canada.

The latter, Olympic gold medallists, are up first on Thursday evening in Middlesbrough, with Williamson and her side eager to get off to a good start and outline their title credentials.

What has been said?

In Wednesday’s pre-match press conference, the Arsenal defender was asked what differences she has noticed in the England team since Wiegman took over in August.

“I think the dynamic of the team has changed a little bit,” she said. “I think we've realised, ultimately, we've potentially underachieved the last few tournaments and I think everybody wants to turn that around.

“It's more of a collective push to reach the next standard, which is bringing out the best in everybody, I think. This is some of the most competitive training I've been involved in for a long time here. The fight for positions, the fight to reach your potential, it's all tying in nicely.

“Then obviously this week, we get an opportunity to learn more about ourselves which is a gift really, just to focus on the summer.”

Can England win the Euros?

Looking ahead to the summer, England will be considered one of the contenders for the tournament, alongside the likes of Spain, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and many others.

Asked about this team going into the Euros believing they can win it, Wiegman - who lifted the trophy in 2017 with the Netherlands - said: “When you go to a tournament, you want to win the tournament, just like all other teams.

“There are lots of teams that would be able, or should be able to, win the Euros because the game has developed so much. I think now, more and more countries are the favourites in this tournament. It's going to be really exciting.

“I think the games are going to be, again, on a higher level than the tournament four years ago or the World Cup, where the European teams played too. That's going to be really exciting.

“But I think we have a plan. We now have this tournament which we really need to know where we are at this point and what we need to do to become better as an individual and as a team.

“Then, hopefully - well I'm convinced - that [we'll be] ready on July 6 and then we should be playing at the best we can.”

Tickets to watch England, Germany, Spain and Canada play in the Arnold Clark Cup are available now. Matches are being broadcast live in the UK on ITV.

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