Arsenal have triggered a one-year extension to keep Australia international goalkeeper Lydia Williams at the club for a second season following her 2020 arrival from Melbourne City.
The veteran stopper suffered an ankle injury early into her time with the Gunners, which limited her to only 11 appearances in all competitions. But after returning to full fitness Williams eventually got the nod ahead of Manuela Zinsberger and kept seven clean sheets in nine WSL games.
That run of form the team had towards the end of the season was crucial to Arsenal catching and overtaking Manchester United in the hunt for the third and final Champions League place.
Coronavirus restrictions that didn’t lift before the end of the WSL season also mean that Williams was never able to play in front of Arsenal fans and is keen to have that chance next season instead.
“I just can’t wait to get back and see the fans now,” the 33-year-old explained.“I’ve seen everything on social media, but now I want that fan experience on the pitch and during games because that’s the one thing that I’ve missed the most.”
Williams had played club football in Australia, the United States and Sweden prior to joining Arsenal last summer, linking up with international colleagues Caitlin Foord and Steph Catley.
She has played 88 times for Australia since making her debut as a 17-year-old in 2005 and has twice been named Australia’s PFA women’s player of the year.
But there will be one less Australian at Arsenal next season following manager Joe Montemurro’s departure last month.
The 51-year-old had expressed at the time his desire to take a professional break from football in order to rest and spend more time with his family, yet he has since accepted the chance to become new head coach at Juventus and was unveiled this week.