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Leah Williamson named captain of England women’s national team

Leah Williamson (8) is England's newest captain. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Arsenal defender Leah Williamson has been named the permanent captain of the England women’s national team, replacing Steph Houghton.

Houghton had led the team since 2014 but over the past year battled a number of injuries. In a statement, Houghton called it “the greatest honor and privilege” to captain the national team.

“Sarina and the England staff have been hugely supportive but with the injuries, I understand and respect Sarina’s decision to name a new captain,” she continued. “The captaincy is being passed on to a very deserving and driven leader in Leah Williamson, with all the attributes an England captain needs to be successful and I have no doubt she will be.

“I continue to work hard with my rehabilitation in trying to make the squad for this summer’s home European Championship.”

Williamson first wore the captain’s armband for the senior team last September during two World Cup qualifiers. She previously had captained the U17, U19 and U20 teams.

“I think it’s the biggest honor in football,” Williamson said. “To even have my name associated with it for the time that it has been and obviously now is very, very special and something I’ll never take for granted.”

The defender will captain the team during this summer’s European Championships, which will be played on home soil. The final at Wembley Stadium is already sold out.

“Steph Houghton is one of this country’s all-time greats and to follow in her footsteps – and all of those special names who have led the team in the past – means so much,” Williamson said of her former captain. “Although I will be wearing the armband, I know we have a squad full of leaders who share my pride and passion in playing for our country.”