England are ready to kickstart Euro 2022 this week with the opening match against Austria at Old Trafford.
Captain Leah Williamson will lead her country out at the Theatre of Dreams as they look to challenge for their first ever European title.
The Arsenal star will be filling the big boots of Steph Houghton, who couldn’t recover from an achilles injury in time for the tournament.
Williamson’s new role as skipper of the Lionesses has proved to be popular among many fans and professionals. Former England international Lianne Sanderson is just one who has applauded the versatile defender’s leadership skills. But she does believe another name should have been considered for the armband.
“I think Leah is a fantastic role model, I think she is definitely a captain for the future,” the footballer turned pundit told Bettingexpert.
“I like Leah as a person on and off the pitch. I played with Leah a number of times when I was in Arsenal. But for me, at this moment in time, there is only one person, and that is Lucy Bronze.
“That is who should have been given the captaincy. And until Lucy decides to retire from international football, I believe that she should have been given the captaincy. That is my opinion.”
Bronze recently signed for Barcelona from Manchester City in a surprise career move. She will play alongside Ballon d’Or winner and upcoming Euro 2022 opponent Alexia Putellas.
The defender — who was named The Best FIFA Women’s Player in 2020 — is close to becoming an England centurion. She is currently on 90 senior caps for the Lionesses.
“She [Bronze] is not the most vocal person off the pitch. But you don’t always have to be, to be the captain,” Sanderson continued. “People lead in different ways. I love Lucy as a player, and her mentality when it comes to winning, and just the way that she is, she is someone that I valued as a teammate.”
England’s Euro opposition
While England have the home advantage at Euro 2022, there is an abundance of teams who are looking to cause an upset.
Sanderson highlighted Spain as one of the top contenders to challenge for the title this summer.
“Obviously me being English, people would expect me to say England, but honestly, I think Spain is gonna be the strongest. I like them, I like Alexia Putellas, and I like their players. I think Jennifer Hermoso, that fact that she’s out with an injury is a big loss for them.
“The way they play, they’ve taken their game to another level. Especially in the Spanish league with Barcelona and a lot of their players are obviously scattered all around as well. So, I think Spain is gonna be a massive team in this competition along with France.”
The former Lioness also gave honourable mentions to Austria and Norway, who could be the dark horses of the tournament. Both teams will face England in Group A during the opening round of Euro 2022, alongside Northern Ireland.