England captain Leah Williamson will miss this summer’s World Cup after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her knee.
Arsenal confirmed their worst fears surrounding the injury the 26-year-old sustained during Wednesday’s Women’s Super League loss to Manchester United.
The Gunners said in a statement: “Leah will now begin a period of rehabilitation and is ready for an extended period on the sidelines. She will be operated on in due time for her.
“Everyone at Arsenal will support Leah closely during the journey ahead and we would ask that her privacy be respected at this time.”
Williamson collapsed in pain in the 12th minute of a 1-0 defeat at Leigh Sports Village after appearing in his studs on the grass before limping off.
The news is a huge blow to both club and country as England’s first World Cup match against Haiti will take place on July 22.
England boss Sarina Wiegman is hoping to be without last year’s European championship player Beth Mead, who suffered the same injury last November.
Williamson is the third key Arsenal player along with Mead and Vivianne Miedema to tear cruciate ligaments this season, while captain Kim Little is also out with a hamstring problem.
Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall criticized the quality of playing surfaces in the WSL after Wednesday’s game, saying: “Of course it’s not good that I had to go out.
“I think he’s going to continue here with the schedule we have and pitches like that, players are going to get injured. That’s something we all need to improve, the facilities where we play, so we can keep the players on the field.”