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Lioness legend Fara Williams backs campaign to get more girls playing football in schools

FARA WILLIAMS reckons Manchester United may be victims of their success from last season with the team facing a battle to finish in the WSL’s top four.

And Lioness heroind hopes demands for equal football access for schoolgirls will inspire more to get involved in the sport on and off the pitch.

Fara Williams is backing a campaign to provide girls with equal access to football in schools

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Fara Williams is backing a campaign to provide girls with equal access to football in schoolsCredit: Alamy
Approximately 300,000 girls are expected to take part in this year's Let Girls Play football session - around

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Approximately 300,000 girls are expected to take part in this year’s Let Girls Play football session – aroundCredit: PA

Williams, 40, who is England’s most-capped footballer with 172 international appearances, was speaking ahead of this year’s Let Girls Play event.

Taking place on Friday 8 March, which is International Women’s Day, the event is expected to involve more than 4,000 schools.

According to the FA an estimated 300,000 girls are likely to participate in what they describe as the biggest ever football playing session.

Williams, who is backing the campaign, said: “When I when I was coming through, I was playing out on an estate, not really knowing anything about women’s football opportunities.

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“There were very limited opportunities for me to participate or even be coached within a very organised set-up.

“If I’d had this kind of activity in my time, my journey probably would have been a little bit different to how it was.”

When asked what more could be done to encourage more girls to get involved in football, Williams spoke of the need for activities away from the pitch as well as on it.

The former Liverpool, Arsenal and Reading ace, who retired in 2019, added: “For me it’s not just about playing, but finding plenty of ways for females to get involved in the sport.

“There have to be opportunities out there for girls to get involved in football off the pitch.,

“There should even be opportunities for those aspiring to become groundswomen, as we’ve seen with Arsenal using a whole team groundswomen for the first time on Sunday.

Williams, who presents the Boots, Balls and Bras podcast, was sharing her thoughts days after doing punditry during the Gunners 1-0 defeat of Spurs in the WSL.

The result saw Arsenal open a nine-point gap on fourth-placed Man United who dropped points ahead of their duel with Bristol next weekend.

And Marc Skinner’s side who face Brighton in the Women’s FA Cup are currently level on points with Liverpool.

Williams added: “I think the top three spots will be claimed by Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal.

“For Man United, now it’s whether can they finish fourth.

“If they do anything less than that now, given the success they had last year in the league and the FA Cup, it’s a failure for them.

“Liverpool will push them and could potentially get that fourth spot come the end of the season.

“United haven’t performed this year as they performed so consistently last year.

Williams is backing Reds boss Matt Beard to push Man United all the way in the race to finish in the WSL's top four this term

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Williams is backing Reds boss Matt Beard to push Man United all the way in the race to finish in the WSL’s top four this termCredit: Getty

“I do my podcast every week and I have Man United Women’s fans on at me questioning Marc Skinner.

“It’s difficult when you overachieve, which I think Man United did last year, and to try and do that again.

“I certainly don’t put that down to just Marc Skinner.”

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