November 30, 2021

Wiegman not ready to name permanent England captain

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England Women head coach Sarina Wiegman says she is not yet ready to name a permanent captain and needs more time to assess her options.

Arsenal defender Leah Williamson captained the Lionesses in last month’s World Cup qualifying wins over North Macedonia and Luxembourg in the absence of injured team-mate Steph Houghton.

Wiegman has confirmed Williamson will keep the armband for England’s next two qualifiers against Northern Ireland at Wembley on Saturday and Latvia on Tuesday.

But the England boss says she needs more time to choose a permanent skipper, with Houghton and Lucy Bronze both still unavailable through injury.

“I’m not close yet,” said Wiegman, when asked if she was ready to make her final decision.

England's Leah Williamson during the UEFA Qualifier match at St Mary's, Southampton. Picture date: Friday September 17
Image: Leah Williamson has captained England in the absence of Steph Houghton

“I think Leah has done very well. She plays well, she’s very good in the group, so she does a very good job. But we haven’t had Steph and Lucy Bronze in this group, and they’ve captained this team before.

“So we will take a little time and when everybody is fit, performs well and comes in the squad, I can see how everyone relates and what is best for the team.

“But for now, Leah is doing a very good job. We will see what happens next.”

Image: England face Northern Ireland at Wembley on Saturday

Manchester City defender Houghton remains sidelined with an ankle injury, while her club team-mate Bronze is yet to feature this season after having surgery on her knee during the summer.

Wiegman is keen to work with both players before choosing her permanent captain.

“I’ve known them, I’ve seen them. But I haven’t worked with them… Steph a little bit but not Lucy,” added Wiegman.

“I just want to get them in the group when they’re fit. It all starts with how they’re performing, how are they in the group and what their role is in the group and who is the best captain.

“I just need that time.”