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England suffers massive blow as captain Leah Williamson will miss World Cup with ACL injury

England captain Leah Williamson said she will miss the Women's World Cup after her club Arsenal confirmed she had suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in a Women's Super League match against Manchester United.

Williamson, 26, went down in pain 12 minutes into their 1-0 loss to United on Wednesday and she was helped off the pitch by medical staff before limping down the tunnel.

ACL injuries generally require months of recovery and rehabilitation, and her injury is a huge blow for European champions England with the World Cup kicking off in July.

"Leah will now begin a period of rehabilitation and is set for an extended spell on the sidelines. She will undergo surgery in due course," Arsenal said in a statement on Friday.

The injury also dents Arsenal's hopes with the club third in the league standings — six points behind leaders United — while they are also in the Champions League semifinals with the first leg against VfL Wolfsburg on Sunday.

"Unfortunately the World Cup and Champions League dream is over for me and everyone will think that's the main focus, but it's the day to day of what I'm about to go through that is the most draining of my thoughts," Williamson wrote on Instagram.

"I had tears and made my peace with it the night it happened and since then I've been following the steps I'm told to, in order to best help myself in the short and long term.

"Ultimately, I think it's just my time... I haven't had a day since last October when I've walked on to the pitch without a physical or mental question mark over me, and that's professional sports."

Arsenal had already lost captain Kim Little for the rest of the season due to a hamstring injury while forward Vivianne Miedema also had her season ended due to an ACL injury in December.

Miedema, the Netherlands' record goalscorer, also said she would miss the World Cup after undergoing surgery.

Embed from Getty Images

Arsenal women's boss Jonas Eidevall blamed the conditions of the Leigh Sports Village pitch after Williamson suffered her injury.

"I think if you see the pitch... it is a pitch that has a lot more to ask for and I think it's going to continue here with the playing schedule," he had said after the game.

"Playing on pitches like that, of course players are going to get injured. It's something we all need to improve on, the facilities where we play, if we want to keep the players on the pitch."

Beth Mead also ruptured her ACL in November and England boss Sarina Wiegman said last month that it would take a 'miracle' for the Arsenal striker and Euros top scorer to be ready for the tournament.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru;Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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