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Leah Williamson returns to England squad as Sarina Wiegman reveals plan for Lionesses friendlies

Leah Williamson is back in the England squad for the first time since April last year as Sarina Wiegman said she plans to “experiment” with her team in upcoming friendlies against Austria and Italy later this month.

Arsenal defender Williamson led the Lionesses to Euro 2022 glory as captain but missed last summer’s World Cup after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament nine months ago.

Williamson replaces the injured Millie Bright in one of only two changes from December’s 23-player squad, with Manchester City midfielder Jess Park also coming in for Manchester United’s Katie Zelem.

The Lionesses missed out on the Nations League finals in December so will instead begin their preparations for the start of Euro 2025 qualifying with a trip to the south of Spain and a pair of friendlies against Austria and Italy.

Williamson is expected to return as captain but Wiegman said she will only make a decision after discussing it with her squad - goalkeeper Mary Earps captained the side when both Williamson and Bright were unavailable at the end of last year.

However, the Lionesses manager was delighted to include the 26-year-old in her squad and said: “It’s really nice, especially for her. She’s back, she’s gaining minutes at Arsenal and doing well. They are happy with where she is and it will be nice to see her back next week in camp next week.

“She’s a very good player, we’ve seen that too. Even though she’s been out for months, her decision making is really good even as she is still building. The team stepped up [without her] but it’s good to have her back.”

Leah Williamson is back in the England squad (John Walton/PA)

Bright has been out since November with a knee injury but Wiegman said she was hopeful the Chelsea centre-back would

Read more on independent.co.uk