Fara Williams: England caps record would be great honour

Fara Williams playing for England
England coach Mark Sampson says Williams is "undoubtedly amongst the best in the world"

England midfielder Fara Williams says it will be a "great honour" to win a record-breaking 130th cap in Sunday's friendly against Sweden.

The Liverpool midfielder will become England's most capped player, passing Rachel Yankey's total, when she plays at Hartlepool United's Victoria Park.

"I never set out to make that sort of achievement," said Williams, 30.

"I just wanted to play and get better as I went along, but it will be a great honour to set a new record."

Williams recently revealed that she was homeless for six years earlier in her career and said she "matured quicker than most" because of that experience.

"That period of my life made me stronger," she added.

"Football helped me through it and it's amazing now to hopefully be getting my 130th England cap on Sunday."

Mark Sampson, who took charge of the national team after last year's dismissal of Hope Powell, described Williams as "undoubtedly amongst the best in the world".

He added: "Fara is incredibly talented, the sort of technically gifted player that England doesn't normally produce.

"Sunday will be a very special day for her and I hope she thoroughly enjoys it, but I know she will also use it as a platform to kick on and try to get even better."

Almost 13 years after making her debut, Williams is likely to captain England in what will be a difficult encounter against a strong Swedish side.

England have only won one of their past 14 meetings with the Swedes, who are ranked fifth in the world - three places higher than Sampson's team.

When they met in a friendly last July, Sweden's 4-1 win preceded the disastrous Euro 2013 that led to Powell's sacking and Sampson's subsequent appointment.

The England coach, in charge for the 10th time, said: "Sweden are a physically strong side with some fantastic players, so it will be tough.

Sweden 4-1 England

"We've got to go eye-to-eye with them, compete for every ball and try to get on top of them - this game should show where we are in terms of our progress."

Sunday's game comes just 18 days before England face Wales in a 2015 World Cup qualifier in Cardiff, where a draw will be good enough for Sampson's side to reach the finals in Canada.

Sampson has been forced to make late changes to his squad after goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis and midfielder Dunia Susi dropped out through injury.

Birmingham City's Jo Potter has replaced Susi and Notts County keeper Carly Telford has stepped in for Brown-Finnis.

Telford's inclusion in the squad means that six of the players are from the North East, so should feel at home at Hartlepool.

Steph Houghton, Jill Scott, Lucy Bronze, Jordan Nobbs, Demi Stokes and Telford all began their careers with Women's Super League second tier club Sunderland.

England squad: Bardsley (Manchester City), Chamberlain (Arsenal), Telford (Notts County), Bonner (Liverpool), Bronze (Liverpool), Greenwood (Everton), Houghton (Manchester City), A Scott (Arsenal), Stokes (University of South Florida), Bassett (Chelsea), Moore (Birmingham City), J Scott (Manchester City), Williams (Liverpool), Potter (Birmingham City), Nobbs (Arsenal), Carney (Birmingham City), Aluko (Chelsea), Clarke (Notts County), Dowie (Liverpool), Duggan (Manchester City), Kirby (Reading), Sanderson (Boston Breakers), Taylor (Washington Spirit).

You can listen to England v Sweden commentary via the BBC Sport website. Kick off 14:00 BST.

Top Stories