Arsenal and England star Williamson reveals her mum made her wear a gumshield while playing against boys

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Leah Williamson England
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Leah Williamson has opened up on having to wear a gumshield when playing football against boys as a child, because they would target her in games.
  • Faced obstacles as a youngster
  • Made it as a pro regardless
  • Now a living England legend

WHAT HAPPENED? Earlier this year, the Arsenal defender became only the second senior English football captain to lift a major trophy (after Bobby Moore with the men in 1966). However, long before her success with the Lionesses at Euro 2022, Williamson was made to wear a gumshield in matches by her mum as boys in her local league targeted her for rough treatment.

WHAT THEY SAID: As quoted in an interview with The Times, she said: “[The gumshield] was very uncomfortable and, in my opinion, very unnecessary.

"Nobody should bat an eyelid that there’s a girl on the pitch. That’s the thing that’s changed and that’s where if it becomes a social norm, then most of those problems fade into the background.”

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Despite the obvious obstacles Williamson faced as a young girl in the world of football, she has now risen to the top for club and country, winning major silverware with both despite still only being just 25 years old. Meanwhile, the women's game has grown alongside her, reaching new levels of popularity.


Leah Williamson Theo Walcott


Leah Williamson Arsenal 2022-23

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Leah Williamson England 2022

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WHAT NEXT FOR WILLIAMSON? The defender recently missed two months of action with injury but returned for Arsenal earlier on in December as she looks to regain full fitness.