Reading 0-6 Arsenal: Gunners captain Leah Williamson 'happy to be back' after nine months out

Leah Williamson

Leah Williamson said she was "happy to be back" after nine months out injured as holders Arsenal hammered Reading in the Women's League Cup.

The England captain, 26, sustained an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in April.

She returned as a second-half substitute as Arsenal qualified for the quarter-finals as Group D winners.

"It was lovely," she told Sky Sports. "You think a lot about how that moment is going to be and it was perfect."

The defender replaced Jen Beattie on 61 minutes and, with 10 minutes remaining, played a long ball for Beth Mead to volley in the Gunners' fifth goal.

"It's been a long journey but it has gone really quickly," Williamson added.

"The girls I've had around me - it's special. Special people get you through tough times.

"I love playing for Arsenal. I'm happy to be back and [will] try to help my team."

Caitlin Foord put Jonas Eidevall's side on course for victory before a Stina Blackstenius first-half double.

Laia Codina added a fourth on 51 minutes, with Mead firing in from Williamson's assist.

Blackstenius completed her hat-trick and sealed the win for Arsenal, who progressed to the last eight in style.

The five League Cup group winners go through to the quarter-finals alongside the best two runners-up.

They will be joined by Chelsea, who enter the tournament in the knockout stages because of their participation in the Champions League.