Leah Williamson injury: Three Players and a Podcast panel Izzy Christiansen, Jen Beattie and Rachel Yankey discuss injuries and major tournaments | Soccer News

With Leah Williamson ruled out of the Women’s World Cup after rupturing her ACL, the Three Players and a Podcast panel offer their experiences and advice having been through similar experiences.

The England captain picked up the injury in Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester United, with it confirmed on Friday that she will undergo surgery to help repair the ligament.

She joins fellow Gunners Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema as they continue to recover from their own ACL injuries, with all three to miss the summer tournament in Australia and New Zealand.

In a recent episode of Three Players and a Podcast, Izzy Christiansen and Jen Beattie revealed how they have also suffered injuries ahead of major tournaments and, along with Rachel Yankey, offered their advice to players going through the same things.

Izzy: Missing the World Cup one of the biggest challenges of my career

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Sky Sports News’ Anton Toloui analyzes England’s potential strategies after facing a ‘big blow’ as Leah Williamson is ruled out of the World Cup with ACL injury

“I went through a phase when I broke my leg after the Champions League final [in 2019] where I was locked up at St George’s Park for seven weeks with national team coaches and physios. I was put through my absolute paces to recover from a broken leg.

“I was flying, but when the email came out for selection, that was probably the biggest low of my career. I knew deep down I wasn’t ready but the fact that we pushed for seven weeks made me think there was a chance.

“I had a chat with Phil [Neville], which was really difficult. I was of course upset that I wasn’t going to the World Cup, but it was more the emotional fatigue I was under because I had been rehabbing so hard.

“It all got a bit too much and at the time, it all felt tailored for me to go the World Cup because of how regimented it was and then to not go, it was the biggest challenge of my career.

“You feel so away from kicking a football, you start to wonder if you’re just a full-time gym user.

“There’s so many more resources now, especially at the top clubs in the league. They have physios that can work one-to-one with the injured player as well and when it works with the team schedule that day.

“But also keeping the players’ endurance to rehab high is integral to recovery, but not at the expense of burn out or mental fatigue. It’s about how you spice it up in terms of things like conditioning sessions.

“Part of our job is keeping in shape and if you can’t keep in shape, it makes the return more difficult because the game is so quick now and the physicality, you have to be able to compete.

“From experience, to anyone out there who’s going through a long term or short term injury, you’ve got to make sure your head is right and you keep it in a good place to make sure your body is right as well.”

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Everton forward Nico Sorensen talks to Izzy Christiansen about her difficult recovery from an ACL injury

Jen: Aim for longevity, do not push your body

“When you’re injured, you almost have more of a role because you see things differently. You can add tactical things or have discussions.

“When people are injured, everyone rallies around and everyone is there for each other.

“I do think the holistic part is the most important part. You already feel so low that you’re not doing your job, you don’t feel like a footballer, so the wellbeing part is massive. Modern clubs are much better at doing that now.

“At City, I got injured and then Scotland qualified for the first Euros they’ve ever been a part of [in 2017] and I tore my ankle ligaments right before it. I was out [of the Euros] and they knew how much that hurt.

Jen Beattie has announced her international retirement from Scotland
Jen Beattie missed out on Euro 2017 with Scotland due to injury

“It was over the summer and they understood the holistic part of missing the Euros. If I needed to come in at 7am and do a session, then go because I had stuff I wanted to do, I could do it.

“It’s the same with Arsenal, they’re unbelievable. If you need to do things on certain days or they understand the mental wellbeing of what’s going on with the player and the person. If they need to change the plan for a day or two “That’s absolutely fine. I think clubs get that now.”

“It’s always a tricky one leading into big tournaments… one of the hardest things players can do is when they’re pushing through time constraints, you’re battling against your body. I think you’ve got to aim for longevity, not push things for the sake of reaching something or pushing for time.It’s football – you’ll get back fit.

“But time constraints are such harsh things to put players under, I think. When you’re injured, no one needs that extra pressure to get back fit.”

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Sarina Wiegman says England striker Beth Mead is still rehabbing her ACL injury and would need a ‘miracle’ to be fit in time to play at the tournament

Rachel: Honest conversations needed between players and coaches

“Hopefully within football clubs, the mental support is a lot better, a lot more people who look at that side of things than when I was playing because you were on your own. That’s never a good place to be.

“I can think of players that seem like they’ve had a good conversation with the [national team] manager and seem like they’re in a place where they know what’s happening because you put all that work in and because people have supported you, they make you think you’re in a position to go [to a major tournament].

“That gives you the extra boost and belief, but then because that message may have got misinterpreted, you’re left afterwards thinking ‘what was the point of that and why has that happened?’.

“Honest conversations need to happen – and I can think of players where that didn’t happen. They thought they were doing something and are then on a different path.”