LEAH WILLIAMSON- RISING STAR
Last night Leah Williamson was named The FA WSL Continental Cup Player of The Year. We found out more about Arsenal's rising star...
While Arsenal’s Leah Williamson could not cap off her dream season by claiming the FA WSL Continental Cup, the teenage midfielder was not left empty-handed after she was named the tournament’s player of the year.
Arsenal were edged out 1-0 by Manchester City in Thursday’s final at Adams Park, relinquishing the trophy that has had their name on it every year since the tournament began in 2011.
But in an exciting first season with the senior squad, 17-year-old Williamson played in all seven of Arsenal’s Continental Cup ties – scoring once – and her command of the midfield alongside England international Jordan Nobbs has made a lasting impression.
And while Williamson was proud to have received the gong, she admitted she has her eyes on more silverware after narrowly missing out in the final.
“After the season we’ve had to come away with two trophies would have been amazing, so we’re really gutted about that loss,” said Williamson, who joined Arsenal when she was nine years old.
“Everyone here wants to win trophies so it is upsetting but there’s always next year. It’s still my first season, so anything at all that comes my way that is positive is a bonus.
“To be on the pitch in itself is amazing, and obviously it’s great to win the player of the tournament award on a personal level. But it doesn’t make up for the loss as a team for me.
“Personally it’s been a very successful season. If you’d have told me at the start of the season that I’d be here in this position I wouldn’t have believed it.
“This is my childhood club, the team that I love and the team that my family love. So for me to be in the cup final wearing the shirt on the pitch is a real honour.”
Williamson played the last quarter of an hour in Arsenal’s FA Cup final triumph back in May, and since then has established herself as one of the brightest English talents in the FA WSL.
She added: “I’m a totally different player to the one I was at the start of the season and I’ve learnt a lot.
“Jordan in particular has been amazing in midfield. I’m picking up things from her all the time, and Kelly Smith was my idol as a child.
“So being in the team with the two of them is great. The communication with them both on and off the pitch is huge, and I one day I aspire to be playing like they do.
“This year the WSL seems to have reached a different level. The amount of games, the fan-bases and the introduction of the new clubs into the league has made a huge difference and shows that this game is definitely moving up.”
* Leah was crowend FA WSL Coninental Cup Player of the Year, ahead of Jess Clarke from Notts County, Chelsea's Ji So-Yun and Manchester City's Toni Duggan in The FAWSL's Facebook Poll