England squad: Leah Williamson makes long-awaited return for Lionesses in Euro 2025 qualifiers

Williamson has returned to the England squad (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Williamson has returned to the England squad (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Leah Williamson is finally set to make her England comeback next week after being recalled to the squad.

The Lionesses skipper has not played international football for 11 months and missed last summer’s World Cup after suffering a serious knee injury in April.

Williamson had been due to return for England last month for friendlies against Austria and Italy, but she was forced to withdraw from the squad due to a hamstring strain.

The defender has fully recovered from that setback and played 90 minutes on Sunday as Arsenal came from behind to beat Aston Villa 3-1.

Williamson’s return is a major boost for the Lionesses, who will kick off their qualifying campaign for Euro 2025 a week on Friday when they host Sweden at Wembley.

England will then travel to Dublin four days later to face Ireland and they have been handed a tough group, with world No3 side France the final team in Group A3.

Only the top two sides in the group are guaranteed a place at Euro 2025, where the Lionesses will be defending their crown.

“We know it’s a challenging group, but it’s really exciting,” said England boss Sarina Wiegman. “These are all big games that will test us and that’s the kind of fixtures we want to play in.

“There’s no time to waste. February’s window showed who we are and where we want to go and we’ll look to continue that momentum from the minute we arrive at St. George’s Park next week.

“Every opponent we face is a top nation and we know we have to perform at our best to achieve our goals. We’ll be ready for Sweden at Wembley.”

Wiegman has named 23 players in the squad for games against Sweden and Ireland, with the group largely unchanged from February’s friendlies with Austria and Italy.

Manchester United’s Maya Le Tissier misses out this time and instead her team-mate, Millie Turner, has got the nod.

There is still no place for Chelsea defender Millie Bright, who captained England at the World Cup last year, due to a knee injury.

Wiegman is excited for the Lionesses to kick off their qualifying campaign at Wembley, where they won Euro 2022.

“Wembley has been the home of some of our biggest moments together and it holds such special memories,” she said.

“It’s no coincidence that we feel inspired when play there. The fans have provided such fantastic support every time and there’s no doubt they can help us again against Sweden.”