Sarina Wiegman worried about players’ workload after Leah Williamson blow
Sarina Wiegman, the England head coach, has said she is concerned about the workload of players after Arsenal announced that the centre‑back Leah Williamson will be out until the new year with a “significant” hamstring injury.
On Tuesday the Arsenal manager, Jonas Eidevall, described his side’s schedule as “almost inhuman” as Williamson was ruled out after picking up the injury in the 1-1 draw against Tottenham on Saturday – Arsenal’s third match in six days.
Eidevall pointed to the rest he was able to negotiate for Vivianne Miedema – enabling the striker to sit out the later half of the last international window – as one of the ways he and his staff have tried to manage the physical burden placed on players who competed at the Olympic Games in the summer, something they had not yet been able to arrange for Williamson.
In announcing her squad for the World Cup qualifiers this month against Austria at the Stadium of Light and Latvia at the Keepmoat Stadium, Wiegman said the absence of Williamson, who has captained the side on a temporary basis, was “very disappointing”.
“Of course she’s very disappointed and I’m very disappointed,” the head coach said. “When you’re an international player you have tournament on tournament on tournament, every summer, then you have Champions League, then you have your domestic competitions. The players have so many games and we have to consider when they are going to have some rest, physical and mental, because they are just human beings.”
With Williamson out, Wiegman would not be drawn on who will wear the armband for the latest round of games with Steph Houghton and Lucy Bronze still missing through injury. “This is so fresh that [Williamson] won’t be here. So we will think, talk to the players, then we will tell you,” she said.
Williamson’s Arsenal teammate Jordan Nobbs has returned to the England squad for the first time under Wiegman, having not played for the national team since April as she was eased back after an ankle injury.
“We have been following Jordan of course the whole season and she has done well, she’s had a lot more playing minutes and I’m looking forward to working with her next week,” Wiegman said. “She brings energy, she’s always dynamic, technically good. I’ve seen her at Arsenal, I’ve seen her before in my other job and now she’s continuously playing minutes.”
Should the striker Ellen White feature against Austria or Latvia, then she will collect her 100th cap. The Manchester City forward is also two goals shy of Kelly Smith’s England scoring record of 46.
White is one of seven Manchester City players included in the last Lionesses squad of 2021 and Wiegman said she is unconcerned by the results of the club this term. “Players come to us, they have rhythm, they all play, get minutes. Of course they have some injuries. So far with the first international periods we have had we had it was really good. That’s what I expect now. We’ll see how they come in but I’m very positive about how they will come into our camp.”