The last couple of years have been difficult for England and Manchester City defender Steph Houghton. She has been plagued with injuries as she reaches the end of her career – over the last two seasons, she has played in just 17 WSL games [via FBref].
Nevertheless, with the talismanic Leah Williamson set to miss out on the World Cup with an ACL injury, Houghton would be an excellency replacement. She has all the defensive acumen of Williamson, not to mention her veteran instincts. Additionally, she is also a positive influence in the dressing room – in a grueling international tournament, this can be invaluable.
It has been some time since we have seen the 35-year-old in an England shirt. Ahead of what could be a difficult World Cup, however, we feel that the time is right to re-introduce her back into the fray.
Steph Houghton career summary
Houghton began her footballing career at Sunderland, quickly establishing herself as a hot prospect. She had an impressive goal scoring record for the Black Cats, finding the back of the net 24 times in 61 games from central defence.
Houghton then signed for Leeds United in 2007 – during her third year at the club, she helped to guide the Whites to a FA Women’s National League Cup victory. Following this, she signed for Arsenal.
After a tepid spell with the Gunners she moved to Manchester City in 2014, where she still remains to this day. She has captained England in the past – could she don the armband once again in the 2023 World Cup?