Tuesday, June 25, 2024

‘She has definitely still got it’ Eidevall relishing Leah Williamson return

Arsenal Women manager Jonas Eidevall says that the return of Leah Williamson from injury is ‘a great addition’ to the team in the second half of the season. The Arsenal vice captain made her return against Reading on Wednesday night after nine months out with an ACL injury.

Williamson was straight back into the groove with an outstanding assist for Beth Mead for the Gunners’ fifth goal in a 6-0 rout of Championship side Reading.

‘It was really nice to see her stepping onto the field again, of course, she has been training a lot with us lately and the last week she was able to train fully, so to me it didn’t come as a surprise,’ Eidevall said in his pre Liverpool press conference.

‘But obviously when you haven’t seen her in training then maybe it feels like it happens more quickly but it’s a great addition. It is tricky coming on as a central defender for 30 minutes and then to get into the rhythm of the game.

‘It was a nice game for her to come into because we saw a lot of the ball so it was a lot of decision making. The pass for Beth Mead’s goal is almost as good as the finish is. She has definitely still got it, if you were worried you can stop worrying.’

Eidevall says that Williamson’s return won’t see Arsenal change their style but that her qualities mean they can improve on their existing style of play. ‘What Leah gives you as a player, both her ability to pass the ball between lines and break down defensive organisation, but of course she is very capable of handling one v one situations so she can be aggressive and suffocating in her positioning forwards, those are two skills that are really important for us.

‘So it is not about us changing our way of playing, it is that we get in a player who is really good at this way of playing.’ Arseblog News asked Eidevall whether reintegrating a central defender will prove more tricky than the scenarios with Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema, given that it is easier to sub attackers in and out of games compared to defenders.

‘Sometimes you have to adapt to how reality looks, there are very few teams that re-integrate goalkeepers, for example, by playing them for 30, 45 or 60 minutes. That is one model of reintegration.

‘There are other models as well and we need to find one that matches the reality and the situation that we are in and still, first and foremost, making sure she can return in a safe way, but also to perform as well as possible.’

Arseblog News also puts it to Eidevall that the goal against Reading that saw Williamson and Mead combine so effectively offers the team a different, more instinctive dynamic when facing deep block defences.

‘It is two world class players and when you see a moment like that, you see their qualities. When you are coming back from a big injury it is about being consistent and being able to do that on a consistent basis, day in and day out.

‘Getting Beth and Leah back and other players too, they are great additions for us and it gives us potential for the season coming up.’ Arsenal travel to Liverpool on Sunday in the WSL, the game kicks off at 4.30pm and we will have all the usual coverage here on Arseblog News.

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Nick J

Great to have her back along with Mead & Miedema. Best of luck to Weinrother & Goldie in their ongoing recoveries from the same injury.

Fun Gunner

That Mead goal and assist was an example of the extra, instinctive magic that JE said he wanted to see.
I’m also very glad Kim Little is fit again.

Peter Story Teller

According to Leah’s interview the pair of them had been plotting that move all week it was just a matter of waiting for the right opportunity.

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