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From Emma Sanders
England director Phil Neville says he receives 20 Instagram messages out of fans desperate to watch the Lionesses shirt is pulled on by Leah Williamson.
When the 22-year-old was appointed in the for this months friendlies from Brazil and Portugal, there were messages of support Twitter.
The Arsenal defender, who played just six minutes in the World Cup of summer, is now renowned for her desire and commitment, and is one of Englands most promising prospects.
I screenshot each of the messages send them to Leah, said Neville. Shes so popular.
But shes competing in an area where we have got some incredible players. I believed she had been frustrated in the World Cup because we thought the same thing and it was a tricky time for us both.
That could have been the making of her
A brief cameo in the triumph over Cameroon was all Williamson needed to show to the World Cup. Most 22-year-olds could have been happy simply to participate in
I was too passive at the World Cup and also pleased with what Id because I had been in the group, said Williamson.
There were instances when Ive thought to myself I really dont want people to perceive me comfortable without playing.
I play for a high club at Arsenal. Ive been striving my entire lifetime to be the very best I can be playing for England will make me better.
Williamson and Neville discussed these frustrations and the protector has started two and appeared because France in all four of the friendlies of England.
Neville intends to play with her in midfield soon with all the friendly against Germany on 9 November an option, in front of 77,000 fans, in Wembley.
When I even dared to moan about the place I am in, particularly at my age, playing for Arsenal and England, I think Id find a smack, Williamson added.
Williamson made her look in January in the Womens Super League, having made her Arsenal introduction per day after her birthday.
Because she also helped the Gunners raise their first league title in seven 24, in April she had been celebrating in the stands with her mum.
You could cut open and she would bleed red and white, stated London City Lionesses manager Chris Phillips, who worked with Williamson for a long time in Arsenals academy.
That fire was evident as a teen when she came away in tears.
I advised her not to worry because there were bigger games to come, explained Phillips.
Almost a year to this day, she arrived and assisted the first group win the FA Cup at the same arena at MK Dons.
It hasnt taken long to stamp her authority England.
During the win over Portugal on Tuesday, a victory that stopped a five-game winless the youngster was yelling in team-mates and provided Uefa Player of the Year Lucy Bronze psychologist, five years her senior.
Its testament to her resolve, determination and assurance that she has placed World Cup disappointment behind her to grow into one of the Lionesses from the group.
I feel those minutes against Cameroon were near enough for Leah, said Neville. I recall her going and you can see that the emptiness in her eyes because she needed more.
When I left the World Cup I thought hard and long about it – on the way we can find this woman in our own team. And I spoke to [Arsenal director ] Joe Montemurro about playing with her in midfield.
After watching recognised centre-back Williamson play in the middle of the playground to Arsenal in pre-season, Neville said he now hasabsolute trust in her to perform a similar job for England.
There comes a point in a young players development at which you cant abandon them out, said Neville.
When you set them in a match you understand how they are going to perform. Now shes prepared.
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