‘Humble’ Houghton set for Eng­land mile­stone


Sunderland Echo - - Sport - By Mark Don­nelly @mark­don­nel­ly_ mark.don­nelly@jpress.co.uk

While large parts of Wear­side will have their eyes on Port Vale this Sun­day, one cor­ner of Sun­der­land will have their gazes firmly fixed else­where.

For this week­end will see for­mer Sun­der­land Ladies de­fender - and cur­rent Eng­land cap­tain - Steph Houghton rack up her 100th cap for her coun­try.

The South Het­ton-born cen­tre back will reach her Eng­land cen­tury at Rother­ham United’s New York Sta­dium this week­end as the Lionesses pre­pare to take on Swe­den in prepa­ra­tion for next sum­mer’s World Cup.

The mile­stone comes af­ter Houghton has of­fered more than a decade’s worth of ser­vice to the na­tional team, hav­ing made her de­but for the side while still play- ing for the Lady Black Cats in 2007.

Now, the North East na­tive is set to be­come only the eleventh player to rack up 100 caps for Eng­land’s women - al­though the land­mark could have come long be­fore.

In­juries cur­tailed Houghton’s early in­ter­na­tional ca­reer and saw her miss out on a place in the 2007 World Cup squad, de­priv­ing her of some early caps.

Since then, though, she has be­come a reg­u­lar and scooped the cap­taincy in 2013 be­fore re­tain­ing it af­ter Phil Neville’s ap­point­ment as man­ager this year.

And ahead of the clash with Swe­den on Sun­day (1:30pm kick-off ), Neville is keen to make it a day to re­mem­ber for his ‘humble’ cap­tain.

“I want to make Sun­day a spe­cial day, he said.

“She’s so humble, she doesn’t want a cel­e­bra­tion, she doesn’t want it to be about her.

“She’s earnt her 100th cap and de­serves it and Sun­day will be a cel­e­bra­tion of her Eng­land in­ter­na­tional ca­reer.”

Re­gard­less of any re­sult. there will be cel­e­bra­tions aplenty for that cor­ner of South Het­ton - and rightly so.

Steph Houghton.

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