Leah Williamson: England will embrace expectations of home Euros as ‘pressure is a privilege’

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Leah Williamson: England will embrace expectations of home Euros as ‘pressure is a privilege’

England Women captain Leah Williamson says the Lionesses are embracing the expectation on them ahead of a home Euros because “pressure is a privilege”.

England are hosting this summer’s tournament, which kicks off on Wednesday when the Lionesses face Austria, and they have been touted as one of the favourites.

Sarina Wiegman’s side will also be cheered on by sold-out crowds at all of their group matches, including 75,000 at their opener against Austria.

The pressure is, as a result, on England to succeed, but Williamson says the squad are relishing the increased scrutiny.

“We have put in the work over the last however many weeks and we’ve ticked the boxes, so to speak, that we needed tick,” said Williamson.

“But also knowing how big a moment tomorrow is and the summer. We know what it is, we know what to expect and we are ready for it.

“I think everybody has got their own things in place now to be able to deal with it and pressure is a privilege.

“It is something that we are embracing and, as Sarina says, that comes with it, that’s part of the job, but that doesn’t mean we won’t enjoy it at the same time.”

Wiegman has a fully-fit squad to choose from for Wednesday’s match against Austria, with right-back Lucy Bronze over her illness that saw her miss last week’s friendly in Switzerland.

England have had other fitness issues during their build-up , such as Ellen White having Covid-19, but they possess a clean bill of health now.

That is a major boost for Wiegman, who is aiming to win back-to-back Euros after going all the way with Holland five years ago. The Dutch were the hosts for that tournament too, but Wiegman believes this scenario now is very different for England.

“I think as a coach when you get experiences they will always be helpful,” said Wiegman. “[But] I think this situation is totally different than it was five years ago.

“Everything is more bigger - more expectations, higher expectations, the level of the game is higher - so actually it is hard to compare [to 2017].

“I think the players are more experienced and have had more moments already in this higher environment.”

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