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Women’s World Cup qualifier: England v Luxembourg – Leah Williamson to be captain

Leah Williamson
Leah Williamson said captaining England was “one of the biggest honours of my life” last week

Arsenal defender Leah Williamson will remain as England captain for the Women’s World Cup qualifier against Luxembourg on Tuesday.

Defender Steph Houghton has captained England since 2014 but was forced to withdraw from the squad through injury.

Manager Sarina Wiegman also confirmed Chelsea forward Fran Kirby is available after sitting out Friday’s victory.

Kirby, who was “managing her load” by missing the game on Friday, was named the Professional Footballers’ Association Players’ Player of the Year for the second time last season.

‘We want to be the best’

Sarina Wiegman and assistant Arjan Veurink in England training
Sarina Wiegman and assistant head coach Arjan Veurink won the 2017 European Championship with the Netherlands

England dismantled world number 131 side North Macedonia last week but could have scored even more than eight goals after having 48 shots.

Wiegman said after the game her side “should have scored lots more goals” and she hopes to see a more clinical performance in Luxembourg on Tuesday (19:15 BST kick-off).

“We created lots of chances on Friday and that’s what we want to do [against Luxembourg] too,” said Wiegman.

“Of course we want to score more and get that percentage higher.

“[In training] we have focused on switching play more, stretching them and the timing of crosses and runs – to stay calm, stay composed, in the final touch or final pass.

“When you’re connected, composed and calm, the chances will be higher.”

Tuesday’s qualifier will complete the first camp under the Dutch coach, who began her four-year tenure as England manager on 1 September.

‘I would not do it’ – England women’s head coach Sarina Wiegman on bienniel World Cup

Manchester City defender Demi Stokes says the team are “on track” to achieve their goals.

“The team is developing and changing. We are bringing in new faces and Sarina has come in as well. It’s a good mix and a good feel,” said the 29-year-old.

“We’re all moving in the right direction, making small improvements and small margins. That’s what we want to do – keep improving and pushing our qualities.

“We want to be the best and I think we’re on the right track towards that. We want to keep demanding high standards.”

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