Winning Player of the Year is just the start for Williamson

Leah Williamson
Leah Williamson

Leah Williamson insists she is setting her sights even higher after being named England Women’s Youth Player of the Year.

The 18-year-old from Milton Keynes was in the headlines last month after she scored a controversial penalty that had to be re-taken five days after it was initially ruled out.

The goal earned England U19s team a spot at this summer’s European Championships but the accolades keep on coming for Williamson.

The young midfielder was awarded the England Women’s Youth Player of the Year gong by her national coaches after a series of stand-out performances for the Three Lions’ development teams.

And the SSE Next Generation athlete says the recognition from her coaches makes all the hard work worthwhile.

“I had a very busy year with England so to be recognised at the end of it really is lovely,” she said.

“You train and play to impress your coaches and they are the ones that pick the team, so for the award to come from them is even more special.

“It’s nice to get that level of recognition that you wouldn’t expect to get face-to-face.

“I left the U17 age group by just missing out on World Cup qualification. That was it for me, my U17s career was over.

“But, maybe as a way of motivating us, Mo (Marley, England U19s head coach) had told us there was a small chance a couple of us might go to the U20s World Cup in Canada.

She said it was very rare but that there was a chance.

“When someone tells you that you can’t do something, you set your sights on it and I didn’t stop working towards it.

“It hasn’t stopped, it has been a crazy year already and to think we are only in May.

“If you ask any player, to be recognised by your peers is one of the biggest accolades you can get.

SSE’s Next Generation programme partners with SportsAid to provide financial support and training to the sports stars of the future. Keep up to date with the latest @SSENextGen