Leah Williamson is keen for Arsenal to maintain their strong start to the season and prove they have matched her ambition – admitting it will be an easier decision to sign a new contract if recent improvements continue.
The centre-back has made over 150 appearances for Arsenal, having joined the club she supports at the age of nine.
Williamson’s contract was due to expire last summer after another trophyless campaign as she said it was time to make a “football decision” over her future and one not based on her “love and affection” for Arsenal.
She ultimately signed a new one-year deal having spoken to the club about their ambitions and plans to grow the team off the pitch.
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“I don’t think anybody would have expected it to have gone so well at the start the season, so it’s a great sign that things are happening on pitch,” she told the PA news agency.
“But obviously behind the scenes, we’re working hard as a player group, I know that it goes all the way up to the top at Arsenal in terms where do we want to go, where do we want to be and can we do that?
“The answer to everything so far has been ‘yes’ and we are trying to put the club back to where it should be which is consistently competing and bringing trophies back to north London.
“So for the time being, what you’re seeing from the players on the pitch as well as the work that the staff has done behind the scenes, coming back after the summer it’s been incredible to see the change in resources, in manpower to support us and I think you’re seeing that on the pitch now in terms of our performances.”
Asked if any decision over a new contract would be made easier by such changes, Williamson replied: “Yes, you’re right.
“Last summer, taking the contract down to the wire in the end was scary to me because I love this football club. I’ve always been vocal about that.
“It (a new contract) is obviously dependent on results on the pitch so in terms of the happiness of the team – if we’re losing every week I don’t think the energy around the place would be what it is now.
“But with the infrastructure and behind the scenes work that’s going on, it’s hard not to see this club going in the right direction.
“It is something that will obviously have to be spoken about, which we always knew.
“But I think I always wear my heart on my sleeve and everybody knows that. I love my football club and I have always wanted to achieve what I want to achieve in my career right here.”
Arsenal currently top the Women’s Super League having won all six league games under Jonas Eidevall, boasting a goal difference of +21.
They travel to face neighbours Tottenham on Saturday, their hosts enjoying their best start a season in their history – something which adds extra spice to an already huge day for Williamson.
“I’m so happy that it is what it is now, Spurs wanted to make themselves competitive given that they had a lack of investment for a number of years,” she said.
“It is good that this fixture is now a top fixture and one that is exciting for a neutral and for fans.
“North London derby days are some are my best memories with watching the men’s team. Don’t get me wrong, we are professionals and it is another game in calendar, there’s a limit of how much you maybe can get carried away by that.
“But at the same time it gives you an extra incentive to win – as if you ever needed one playing for Arsenal.”
But what if Williamson grabbed the winner on Saturday?: “I normally save my one goal for the last day of the season because when I get it in early I think ‘job done!’
“But if I ever scored against Spurs I don’t know what I would do – there would be a lot of years of passion blow up in that.”
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