Leah Williamson returns for Arsenal following nine-month injury layoff | Leah Williamson

Leah Williamson

  • England captain back in action after her horror ACL injury
  • Comes off bench for final half-hour of 6-0 Reading rout

PA Media

Wed 24 Jan 2024 22.32 CET

Leah Williamson made her first appearance in nine months as the fit-again England captain came off the bench in Arsenal’s 6-0 League Cup win at Reading on Wednesday evening.

The 26-year-old returned to action having been sidelined since April by an anterior cruciate ligament injury, a layoff that included missing England’s run to the final at the summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Williamson’s big moment came just past the hour mark at the Select Car Leasing Stadium as she replaced Jen Beattie.

And she went on to provide an assist for England teammate Beth Mead – who in October made her own comeback after an ACL injury – when the winger made it 5-0 in the 80th minute with a superb strike.

The rout was completed by Stina Blackstenius wrapping up a hat-trick soon after in a contest that also saw Caitlin Foord and Laia Codina get on the scoresheet for Jonas Eidevall’s side.

Meanwhile, the Football Association is investigating Aston Villa after they allegedly fielded an ineligible player in their 7-0 League Cup victory over Sunderland.

Noelle Maritz, who moved from Arsenal this month, came off the bench in Wednesday’s group-stage game against the Championship side. However, the Switzerland international had already played three times for her previous club in the competition.

It is understood that the FA is looking into the matter, which could have ramifications for the knockout stages as Sunderland finished runners-up behind Villa in Group A in a competition where the best second-placed teams also progress.

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