Manchester City women’s captain Steph Houghton ‘sets the standard’ at the club as she prepares to lead out her country at Wembley.
England women play their first ever match at the home of football against Germany women and the 26-year-old will captain the side in front of 55,000 fans.
Her club manager Nick Cushing said that Houghton (below, second from right) will be honoured to lead the team out after being named women’s player of the year at the North West Football Awards.
“I remember speaking to her the day after she was made England captain and that was probably the proudest day in her career,” he said.
“To lead England out in front of 55,000 will probably rival that day because Wembley is a special place.
“I know for a fact she can’t want and the team, Toni [Duggan], Karen [Bardsley] and Jill [Scott] – they can’t wait to get some minutes on the pitch and pull that England shirt on.”
With so many City stars on show, the club are running free coach travel to the game as Mark Sampson’s side play the friendly in preparation for next summer’s World Cup.
The team secured their qualification for the tournament in Canada with a 100% record in qualifying, scoring an incredible 52 goals and conceding just one in the process.
Cushing went on to say exclusively to MM that alongside winning more trophies for MCWFC Houghton would love to cap off next season by lifting the World Cup.
“I’ve never really had a conversation about personal targets for her but I bet I can guess them,” added the 29-year-old.
“I’m sure she wants to be further successful with Manchester City Women and I’m sure with the World Cup coming up that she wants to be successful with England.
“To potentially lift more trophies with City and lift the World Cup with England – that’s a great target to have as a captain of club and country.”
Houghton, who also represented Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics, joined the Blues on New Year’s Day 2014 and made a quick impression.
She led the side to the FA WSL Continental Cup alongside a fifth place finish in their inaugural season in the Women’s Super League.
Cushing says the side are not satisfied with that however and intend to push on again next season with Houghton at the heart of it.
“We have to evolve as a team so we’ll review the squad and try to be at a higher level than we were this season,” he said.
“This football club is a very unique football club – we don’t sit still, we like to keep moving irrelevant of the men’s or women’s team and we’ll do that.
“Steph has been an essential and an integral part of our first year as a football club because of her ability on the pitch.
“On the pitch her leadership skills as our captain and her ability as a footballer set the standard for the football team.”
Main image courtesy of Manchester City FC via YouTube, with thanks.