‘He’s the big boy’ – England captain Leah Williamson says the Lionesses ‘have to be ready’ for the 2023 World Cup

England captain Leah Williamson said winning the World Cup would be the culmination of another “dream”.

Williamson’s Lionesses won their first-ever major tournament with their European title earlier this summer, won after a seismic 2-1 victory in the final against Germany.

In doing so, they have created a new buzz around women’s sport in England, and they now need a point against Austria in their penultimate Group D qualifier on September 3 to ensure that they will qualify for the World Cup – to be held in Australia and New Zealand. New Zealand next year – and the possibility of a memorable double.

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Speaking to Sky Sports, Williamson, 25, said his side will try to repeat their approach this summer for the next World Cup.

She explained: “Before the Euros we had a dream and we focused on the day every day to then even be able to go and be able to do it. Then once we got to that finale, we obviously made sure to show up and take him home.

“I think with the World Cup it will be the same. Until then it’s a dream – of course it’s a dream – but everyone who goes there will want to win it.

“He’s the big boy, isn’t he?” We must be ready.

Williamson joked that winning the World Cup would lead to her “probably retiring, just wrap it up”, but stressed there was a lot more for women’s football to do.

Leah Williamson of England lifts the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 trophy after her teams victory in the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 Final match between England and Germany at the stadium at Wembley on July 31, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty)

Image credit: Getty Images

She said: “The growth of women’s football is so fast, but we also have a lot to do, so we are constantly trying to evolve the game and bring it to the level needed to compete on the world stage, which is what we obviously we did.

“But I just think there’s so much more room for growth that we need to keep pushing so that when we do something like this it feels like more than a trophy because it’s not just 90 minutes on the pitch, it’s a daily choice we make to commit ourselves to developing the game.”

Looking back on the summer, she admitted, “I don’t want it to sink in. The day I wake up and go a day without thinking about it, it’s going to be a sad day.”

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