Williams praises Coultard

Fara Williams paid tribute to former England Women’s captain Gill Coultard after becoming the joint-highest capped Three Lions international of all time.

The Liverpool midfielder played the full 90 minutes as Mark Sampson’s side edged Ukraine 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier in Lviv to move within one point of Canada 2015.

It was Williams’ 129th England cap, which brings her level with Rachel Yankey’s record tally.

And Williams took the opportunity to praise Coultard, the first women’s player to reach triple figures.

England defeated Ukraine 2-1 on Thursday

England defeated Ukraine 2-1 on Thursday

She said: “When you start out as a kid your aim is to win as many trophies as you can. I didn’t even know England had a women’s team when I set out.

“But when I did realise there was a team Gill Coultard was a player I always remember because she was the highest capped – and for a long time.

“She didn’t get recognised for her achievement like we do today. Gill was certainly someone who I’d look at and be amazed at what she has done.

“I didn’t think I’d get anywhere near her total and what an achievement that was in her day because they didn’t play as many games as we do now.”

Williams added: “It’s a proud achievement for me and my family. When I started out in football I never imagined I’d be in the position I’m in now.”

Williams made her debut as a 17 year old against Portugal in 2001. She has played in five major tournaments, as well as the London Olympics, winning her 100th cap against Switzerland in 2012 and has scored 37 goals in total.

But despite these impressive statistics and landmarks, Williams has no plans to walk away from international football.

She said: “I’ve got a few years left in me yet. People talk about age but it’s how you manage yourself. Steven Gerrard is 34 and he has probably just had his best season in a long time.

“Gill was certainly someone who I’d look at and be amazed at what she has done”

Williams on Coultard

“I’ve been around a long time. I’ve got a new, deeper role under Mark and I quite like it to be honest. I have to adapt how I play and that will allow me to last even longer. I’m ready to push on.”

The win over Ukraine leaves England needing just one more point from their remaining two qualifiers, against Wales in August and Montenegro in September.

Williams said: “We ground out a result in what was a tough game.

“They were tough opposition. We didn’t expect the crowd to be so intimidating and we haven’t really come up against that before.

“It probably wasn’t the performance that we wanted but the three points was the most important thing.

“We only need one more point now but Wales will be difficult. We are more than capable of getting a point or more over there and we will have some good preparation for that game when we play Sweden a few weeks earlier.”