Sarina Wiegman, the manager of the England women’s national football team, is pleased to welcome back Leah Williamson to the squad for their upcoming friendlies against Austria and Italy. Williamson, who has been out with an injury since April, has been gradually making her return to playing and has been performing well for her club, Arsenal.

Wiegman expressed her delight at Williamson’s return, stating that it is nice to see her back in the squad after being out for months. She also praised Williamson’s decision-making on the field, indicating that she has been performing well for Arsenal and is gaining minutes.

The manager also mentioned that she was happy with the way the other players “stepped up” in Williamson’s absence, but she did not confirm whether Williamson would captain the team. The absence of Millie Bright, who led the Lionesses at the 2023 World Cup, was also noted, as she is currently recovering from a knee injury.

In addition to Williamson’s return, Wiegman also included uncapped Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Grace Clinton in the squad. However, Manchester United’s in-form forward Nikita Parris did not make the cut, despite scoring seven goals in her past six games.

Wiegman’s England team is building towards the 2025 European Championship, with the qualifying rounds set to begin in April. However, the manager expressed concerns about the congested schedule for the players, especially following the club season and with the Champions League resuming in September.

Williamson has also raised concerns about the demanding schedule for players at the highest level, especially following her own ACL injury and the recent ACL injury of Australia and Chelsea star Sam Kerr.

Nevertheless, Wiegman is looking forward to the upcoming friendlies and the return of Williamson to the squad, as well as the added depth provided by the inclusion of new talents like Grace Clinton. These friendlies will be crucial in preparing the team for the upcoming European qualifiers and building a strong team for the future.

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