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England captain says women's football rise after Euro 2022 win 'gives me goosebumps'
England captain Leah Williamson said seeing the impact the Lionesses’ Euro 2022 triumph has had on the next generation “gives me goosebumps”.
There are now twice as many registered female football teams in England as there were seven years ago.
The largest increase came in the season after England won the tournament – when almost 1,500 new teams registered.
“It makes me happy because that was what we set out to do,” Williamson told BBC Sport.
“We also set out to win it, that was the missing piece and we knew what impact that could have – and look what it’s done.
“Football is such a beautiful thing, but I’m not just here to play football.
“We have a long way to go and the ceiling is higher and higher every year.”
Williamson hasn’t played for England since the 2-0 friendly defeat by Australia last April, eight days before suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury which ruled her out of the World Cup.
The 26-year-old has recently made her club comeback for Arsenal, featuring in two of their past three games.
Reflecting on her 10 months out, Williamson said rediscovering her “fire” for the game brought her comfort during rehab.
“I think I was good at it anyway, but really enjoying what we do because you don’t know what’s coming,” she said.
“Also just seeing a different side to myself. Sometimes it’s quite nice. As a professional athlete you don’t get to where you are without a work ethic and being competitive, but those 10 months have really brought that out of me in every way.
“It’s quite nice to know you still have that fire for the game.”