Sarina Wiegman: Leah Williamson to start in Dublin in match Lionesses ‘really want to win’

England’s 1-1 draw with Sweden at Wembley Stadium on Friday was far from the ideal start to EURO2025 qualifying, with Sarina Wiegman admitting post-match that the result was ‘disappointing.’

The Lionesses have the chance to pick up momentum on Tuesday though, when they face the Republic of Ireland at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium. The Girls in Green were defensively astute in Metz on Friday but fell to a narrow defeat by France – although Eileen Gleeson’s side managed just one shot on goal throughout the match.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s 19:30 BST kickoff in the Emerald Isle, Wiegman played down the importance of the match. ‘We know this group,’ she insisted, adding that ‘it’s hard to predict where it will go. You just go out there in every game and try to play your best game. That’s what we will do.’

‘I don’t really want to talk about must-win – but we really want to win this game. If we win this game it puts us in a better position. We know, if the result is good, it puts us in a better position. If the result is not good, it puts us in a harder position. But there are still four other opportunities to change that around.’

CREDIT: Kerrie Jacobs-Bryant [FromTheSpot]

The Lionesses will be bolstered by the return of captain Leah Williamson, with Wiegman announcing that the Arsenal defender will be named in the starting lineup on Tuesday – bringing an end to a year-long injury-enforced absence.

Williamson was forced to miss out on the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup with an ACL injury, before a hamstring problem saw her excluded from the squad to face Austria and Italy in February’s friendly fixtures.

Speaking highly of the skipper, Wiegman said: ‘Leah is a fantastic player. I want to say first that we had hard choices to make in the team. The competitiveness is really high. We have many options in different positions.’

‘What Leah brings is of course vision and in possession she is very bright. She finds the right pass. The flexibility in defence, she is able to defend the space behind her together with everyone else.’