Williamson ignites love for Arsenal all over again

Having committed her future to the club, Leah Williamson admits that every time she signs a new contract it just sparks her love for Arsenal once again.

Having spent 19 years as a Gunner having arrived at the club as a nine-year-old, Leah's relationship with Arsenal is set to stretch into a third decade after she put pen to paper on a new contract.

And despite already boating a glittering career most players would dream of, the 27-year-old England captain believes that north London is the perfect place for her to continue to develop as a player as she targets even more success.

“Everyone knows what Arsenal means to me, but I think every time I sign a new contract, I feel that love ignite all over again,” she said. “I’m very happy to be staying and looking forward to the next couple of years.
“The most important thing for me is to be competitive as a footballer. It’s my job, I want to make sure that I’m in a place where I can give my team what they deserve. I think this is the place where I can still continue to grow, develop, be challenged and I believe playing in this league in England, one of the most competitive leagues in the world.
“I’ll always put being a footballer first and it’s very easy to be blinded by your love for something and I’ll always try and make a real decision, not just one that will be easy. I remember having a conversation with Kelly Smith at the Man United game, and she said: ‘this isn’t literally everything you’ve done in your career for, moments like this?’

“I think she’s right, from her as well, and I think after everything that has happened, good and bad, at the end of the day, I’ve done it here and the club have supported me through those times as well, so it’s an easy decision in that manner to give back.”

Leah admits that the bonds she’s made with players and staff across the club helped make her decision to stay easier, as she feels such strong family ties towards so many personnel on both the women’s and men’s sides.

She is also relishing the buzz around the whole club at the moment as both teams push themselves forwards, and the link with the fanbase grows stronger every day.

“I’ve always held the perspective that football isn’t everything,” she added. “Do I think it can change the world? Do I think that we have a platform and an opportunity to just bring so much joy to so many people? Especially being here at the weekend for the men’s game as well, there’s nothing like football, nothing makes me feel that way.

“We’ve got a consistent squad and I’ve made friendships here that I don’t want to waste that time, much like I love playing for Arsenal, because I get to spend time with my family who live up the road. I wouldn’t want to leave those people either, because they make my life worth living.

“It’s been a special year with special moments with those people and that’s what I think I’m excited for now because I know I get to have more of those with those people.”

Leah has lifted seven major honours with the club since debuting for our first team in 2014, the last of which saw her lift the Continental Tyres League Cup in March.

However she admits that tally should be higher, and is desperate to help end the five-year wait for a WSL title. She is adamant that her current teammates have what it takes to take us to the top again.

Looking towards the future, Leah said: “I see this team as trailblazers, they’re changing the game, the way they connect with the fans, the way they’re authentic, and show who they are as human beings whilst also being incredible athletes.

“I want people to remember us as winners which is why it’s important we start bringing some trophies back to this club, because this is what this club has always been. I know when people sign here, it’s the expectation regardless of recent history, that is the expectation. The smile says it all, I’m excited to get going.”

Hear much more from Leah in our in-depth interview as she discusses spending her childhood supporting and training with the club, and battling back from injury, by pressing play on the interview above.

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