Leah Williamson leads Euro 2022 defensive stats despite England captain making ZERO tackles

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Leah Williamson enjoyed a dream summer as she led the Lionesses to Euro 2022 glory on home soil.

The 25-year-old played every minute as part of a defence that conceded twice all tournament, and became the first England captain since Bobby Moore to lift a major international trophy at senior level.

An incredible tournament for Williamson as part of the Lionesses team, but also on an individual level. She won the ball more often than any other player at Euro 2022, despite not making a single tackle, according to UEFA’s official statistics.

The Lionesses captain had 56 ball recoveries to her name, with the next-most successful ball winner team-mate Lucy Bronze with 51 recoveries, followed by Germany’s Marina Hegering with 46.

Williamson’s performances were reminiscent of Paolo Maldini, with the Italian great having famously said: “If I have to make a tackle then I have already made a mistake”.

Such is the quietly efficient nature of her work, Williamson largely went under the radar at Euro 2022, with central defensive partner Millie Bright winning more of the plaudits.

But Williamson is pivotal to to the team’s style of play under Wiegman, as the Lionesses enjoyed the second-highest share of possession behind Spain.

The Arsenal star - who started her career as a midfielder and only switched to central defence shortly before her England debut - completed 472 passes in six matches, over 100 more than any other player at the tournament.

Just as Williamson and Bright shone for England in defence, the likes of Beth Mead, Alessia Russo and Fran Kirby excelled in attack.

The Lionesses were comfortably the highest scorers at the tournament with 22 goals, ahead of Germany on 14. Nine different players got their names on the scoresheet - also a tournament high.

Beth Mead won the Golden Boot after a sensational tournament for England (The FA via Getty Images)
Beth Mead won the Golden Boot after a sensational tournament for England (The FA via Getty Images)

Among them was Golden Boot winner Mead, who had six goals from six shots on target at Euro 2022. She was tied with Germany’s Alexandra Popp, who missed the final through injury, but won the award courtesy of providing more assists (five to none).

Team-mate Alessia Russo - scorer of an audacious backheel in the semi-final against Sweden - managed four goals in six substitute appearances.

Apart from Mead and Russo, England’s goal tally included two apiece for Kirby, Georgia Stanway and Ellen White, and one each for Chloe Kelly, Lauren Hemp, Ella Toone and Lucy Bronze.

Mead was also a creative force, providing five assists to go with her six goals. Her total of 11 goal involvements was almost twice as many as anyone else - Popp was next with six, followed by Russo and Kirby on five.

The Lionesses shone in every department.

Additional reporting by PA Sport.

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