She loathes the idea that any special consideration should be made for her because of what has happened.  After helping Leeds win the 2010 FA Women's Premier League Cup, Houghton signed for Arsenal in August of that year. We have to make sure we do what's right for the future, not just for the now.'. 'So yesterday I said yes,' she wrote. As women's football began its surge towards the mainstream, she was named England captain, She has had injuries and setbacks like every other footballer does but has brushed them aside. At club level, Houghton started at Sunderland in her native North East England before moving on to Leeds United in 2007 then Arsenal Ladies in 2010. If I'm selected, he'll come to the tournament. 'I think she has become an even better leader, even more determined,' says Neville. It is hard to think of many people in sport you would rather go into battle with than Houghton. At the 2012 London Olympics, Houghton scored three goals in Great Britain's four games, including winners against New Zealand and Brazil.  She was an unused substitute in the 5–1 defeat in Aalen. They were married in June last year and the picture on Houghton's Twitter biography depicts an idyll, bride and groom hand in hand, walking by the side of a lake at the head of a procession of friends and family.  Houghton scored her first World Cup goal against Norway in the round of 16, and was chosen Player of the Match during the quarterfinals with Canada, which qualified England for their first semi-finals ever. She thinks back to the days when her dad used to drive her from their home in the old pit village of South Hetton in County Durham in their sky blue Peugeot 306 to training at Sunderland's Charlie Hurley Centre. Houghton has said that while her husband's illness isn't a distraction on the pitch, he is her "number one priority". 'I'm here because I feel I'm right to be here,' she says. My focus is the World Cup now and fingers crossed it never, ever gets to the moment where I have to step away. Welcome to the official Steph Houghton website. Steph Houghton with her husband Steph Houghton Club, Goal and career. England Women 0-1 Canada Women: Christine Sinclair nets late... Danny Rose's startling admission that he 'cannot wait' to... We must capitalise on World Cup boom... if we don't it will... Phil Neville declares England women's side want to be as... 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England captain Steph Houghton's husband will cheer her on as the Lionesses World Cup campaign gets underway in Nice after he was forced to abandon his … Last month, the Women's Super League announced a three-year deal with Barclays thought to be worth £10m, reflecting a change in the way the women's game is viewed. She scored a goal in the Round of 16 match against Cameroon.  She made her debut in the next match, replacing Emily Westwood after 73 minutes of a 6–0 win over Russia in Milton Keynes on 8 March 2007. There is more pressure and more coverage but we have to be more open to that and realise that it is part of the job. In 2014, as women's football began its surge towards the mainstream, she was named England captain at the age of 25. It is typical of Houghton's devotion to the team ethic that she has only decided to speak now because she did not want the subject to become a distraction as the World Cup grows near. Last year, ahead of her 100th England cap, Neville praised the Manchester City Defender’s “outstanding” performance. He comes everywhere now. There is something about the England captain that exudes responsibility and indomitability, In 2012, she played for Great Britain in the Olympics and scored the winner against Brazil. , Houghton was involved with England at U16 schools, U19, U20, U21 and U23 level. Stephanie Jayne Houghton MBE (/ ˈ h ɔː t ən /; born 23 April 1988) is an English footballer who both plays for and captains Manchester City and the England national team. , In May 2009, Houghton was one of the first 17 female players to be given central contracts by The Football Association. This is England's fifth Women's World Cup — they play Scotland in their first match, in Nice on Sunday. Houghton refused Neville’s offer of missing a training session soon after the diagnosis, instead fighting “tooth and nail” to be included. ', I ask her if there has been any time since her husband's diagnosis when she has considered stepping away from the game. 'He comes to all my games and he's my No 1 supporter and he's doing so many good things for other people which people don't know about yet but hopefully in the next few months, it will all be announced. Steph Houghton celebrated her 1st wedding anniversary with her husband Stephen.  She helped Sunderland to win promotion from the Northern Division in 2005–06 and then won the FA Young Player of the Year Award in 2006–07. He's been a professional since he was 16 and it gives him a chance to do what he wants to do and I fully support him in anything he wants to do.' , In October 2014, Houghton was the first female player to appear on the cover of Shoot magazine. She is the captain of the side and she accepts that brings added scrutiny. 'That was a lot of money back then,' she says. 'It's obviously been a really, really tough year on a personal level, but I can be honest and say I'm sitting here in England colours and I am really focused on England. She announced the news with a post on Twitter. 'I know that I've improved massively since the last World Cup. If we get that right at the top, then grassroots women's football will grow. We are no longer accepting comments on this article. Steph Houghton will be cheered on by her husband Stephen Darby, who was forced to leave behind his own football career after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease last year. Darby, 30, was diagnosed just months after the couples' wedding last June, stepping down as a right-back for Bolton in September. So no special treatment, no concessions to her situation, no sympathy, no missed training, no change of routine. The competition, televised by the BBC, is likely to create another spike in interest in women's football and will provide Houghton, who is at the peak of her game, with another professional milestone. As Houghton looks ahead to France this summer, as time refuses to stand still, she knows that for her husband, for her team and for herself, this is her moment to seize the day.
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