England captain Williamson returns after lengthy injury layoff

England captain Leah Williamson played her first competitive match in nine months on Wednesday as she made her return from an ACL injury.

Williamson sustained the injury in April while on Arsenal duty but after lengthy rehab, she came on as a second-half substitute in their 6-0 win over Reading in the Conti Cup on Wednesday evening.

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The versatile Arsenal player led the Lionesses to Euro 2022 glory but the injury ruled her out of competing for England at the 2023 Women's World Cup in Australia. Williamson's return will serve as a huge boost both for Arsenal and England.

Williamson came on in the 61st minute for Jen Beattie and provided an assist for Beth Mead as Arsenal eased past Reading.

Talking about her return to the pitch, Williamson told Sky Sports News: "It was lovely. You think a lot about how that moment's going to be and that was perfect.

"I love playing football for Arsenal. Everyone knows how much I love the club -- I'll get emotional about it if I talk about it too much. I'm just happy to be back and try and help my team."

England will play two friendlies in February and then start their Euros qualification campaign in April and Williamson hopes to be back in the Lionesses mix. She said: "I've missed playing for England so hopefully I can get myself back in contention and see what happens."