‘I never had the body issues other girls had!’ Leah Williamson says sports help to prevent insecurities

Leah Williamson speaks to Women’s Health’s YouTube channel about how sport helped her body confidence at school (Rosaline Shahnavaz/Women’s Health)
Leah Williamson speaks to Women’s Health’s YouTube channel about how sport helped her body confidence at school (Rosaline Shahnavaz/Women’s Health)

England star Leah Williamson has said she never struggled with body insecurities because she was active in sports.

The Lioness star said that being "fit and strong" made her love her appearance and that girls who generally suffer from self esteem issues aren’t active in sports.

“Being so heavily involved in sport was the best thing that ever could have happened to me going through school," she told Women’s Health UK’s, YouTube channel.

"When I look back now, when I look at the insecurities of girls that weren’t active, I never had those worries.

“Being so heavily involved in sport was the best thing that ever could have happened to me going through school,” said Williamson (Rosaline Shahnavaz/Women’s Health)
“Being so heavily involved in sport was the best thing that ever could have happened to me going through school,” said Williamson (Rosaline Shahnavaz/Women’s Health)

"I never had the worry of getting changed in the changing room and not liking my body, because I knew I was strong and powerful."

The 25-year-old, who is also the publication’s latest cover star, continued: "Even if someone else might not have liked the way I looked, to me I was fit, I was healthy.

“I looked a way that I was happy with because I knew what I was doing made me happy.

"So, I think that was a major thing for me in school to come out unscathed, so to speak, in terms of those confidence and body issues that so many of my friends had.”

The footballer’s childhood experience has led to her pushing for football to be available to girls in school.

Williamson has been made an OBE in this year’s Honour’s List (Rosaline Shahnavaz/Women’s Health/PA)
Williamson has been made an OBE in this year’s Honour’s List (Rosaline Shahnavaz/Women’s Health/PA)

She and her fellow Lionesses even wrote an open letter to the Government last August calling for this to be put in place.

Part of the letter stated: “We are looking to the future.

"We want to create real change in this country and we are asking you... to help us achieve that change. "We see this as only the beginning."

She explained to Women’s Health: “For us as a team, when we wrote that letter, and when we decided that we wanted to make positive change for the next generation, [it’s] because we have all experienced the benefits of it.

"We know how well sport has served us… the health benefits, the self-confidence…

Williamson celebrates with the trophy following her teams victory during the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 final (Getty Images)
Williamson celebrates with the trophy following her teams victory during the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 final (Getty Images)

"We want to make sure that’s accessible and provided as an opportunity to these younger people because it’s slowly, slowly being put backwards on the priority list.”

If anyone can look back on the year that was with a satisfied smile, it has to be England’s Lionesses.

Last year, England captain, Williamson, led her team to triumph at the Euros in a 2-1 victory over Germany at Wembley in July 2022 sparking jubilation across the UK.

Williamson had revealed that she suffers from endometriosis and feared the condition, which can cause agonising period pain, would’ve stopped her participation in last summer’s European Championship.

Her perseverance against the odds has brought her adulation and recognition, including being made OBE on the current New Years Honours list.

Her her teammates Lucy Bronze, Beth Mead and Ellen White get MBEs.