Euro 2022: Leah Williamson’s mum talks matchday nerves

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By Jack Gray and Manish Pandey

Newsbeat reporters

Leah WilliamsonImage source, Getty Images

The pressure of an international football tournament is immense, but watching your daughter play in one is also pretty nerve-shredding.

That’s how Amanda Williamson, mother of England captain Leah, feels.

“With my hand on my heart, it doesn’t matter what game it is, I struggle to eat, I’m really nervous and become quiet,” she says.

But she tells Radio 1 Newsbeat that seeing everyone enjoy England’s success brings “that little bit of pleasure”.

“The noise in the stadiums has been amazing. You can’t hear yourself think. So we just hope that continues,” she says.

The Lionesses will be competing in their fourth successive tournament semi-final when they face Sweden later, hoping to reach a major final for the first time since 2009.

Always a leader

For many, Leah Williamson has become the face of England women’s football.

Considering her lack of major tournament experience, her appointment as captain for this summer’s European Championship could have raised eyebrows.

But England manager Sarina Wiegman calls her a “great leader” and, for Leah’s mum, it came as no surprise.

Amanda says Leah, now 25 years old, has “always been a leader, even from a young age”.

“She’s always been the one to organise things and always been level-headed so I don’t think she’s changed at all. That’s just the way Leah is,” she says.

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

“I’m surprised every time I drive past a bus stop and it’s her face looking at me”

Amanda reflects on the family’s trip to the Euros in 2017 and says it’s “a surreal moment” to see Leah now leading England out on to the pitch.

It was a late winner in extra-time which sealed England’s place in the semi-final.

“You’re thinking: ‘I can’t cope with penalties,’ but also the girls aren’t ready to go home.”

But she says Leah’s brother Jacob has it much worse when it comes to nerves, with “his head in his hands, looking down and fingers in ears so he couldn’t hear anything”.

It’s been a record-breaking Euros in terms of viewing figures, with a peak television audience of 7.6 million watching England’s dramatic quarter-final win over Spain.

And Amanda hopes the hype around the women’s game will carry on for years to come.

“We walk the streets towards the games and people see the names on the back of our shirts,” she says.

“Everybody is forever just shouting ‘good luck to the Williamsons’. Every girl is getting so much support, so we just hope that continues.”

Media caption,

Radio 1 Newsbeat teamed up with Leah Williamson and the FA to get a special message to cancer patient Laura

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