, Houghton was involved with England at U16 schools, U19, U20, U21 and U23 level. 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.'  She was an unused substitute in the 5–1 defeat in Aalen. Two months from now, Houghton, 30, will lead England into the World Cup in France and this time they will not arrive at the tournament as plucky underdogs but as one of the favourites to win it. She scored a goal in the Round of 16 match against Cameroon.  Her first start came three days later, in a 1–0 win over Scotland at Adams Park. If you want to miss a day, miss a day",' he says. 'Hopefully, if he reads this when it's in the paper, he'll be thinking that he knows that I'm just doing my job and that anything I do it's for our future together.  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. He has been everything I knew he would be. Congratulations flooded in. He really motivates me to be the best person I can be and the ultimate thing for me is to make him proud. It was proclaimed that she had started an agreement to leave on 5 December 2013 Arsenal for new WSL side Manchester City on 1 January 2014. If I'm selected, he'll come to the tournament. At the 2012 London Olympics, Houghton scored three goals in Great Britain's four games, including winners against New Zealand and Brazil.   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.  In May 2019 it was announced that Houghton had been selected for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France. In 2015, she led England to the semi-finals of the World Cup in Canada. Last week, Boots announced another multi-million-pound three-year deal to sponsor the home nations and Republic of Ireland women's teams. She smiles when she thinks about how far she has come since her days at Sunderland Ladies, In 2015, Houghton led England to the semi-finals of the World Cup that inspired a generation. #PerfectProposal #MrsDarbyToBe.' There were more experienced players than me, I was only 25, I was trying to nail down a centre-half spot and it was a difficult situation.  Houghton signed a two-year contract extension with Manchester City on 24 January 2020. We rely on advertising to help fund our award-winning journalism. Darby is known as one of the nicest men in the game, too. 'Sometimes, you need a distraction as a release from the anguish and the pain.'. But for the captain of England's Lionesses there will be a powerful reminder in the stands at this year's tournament that win or lose, there is more to life than the beautiful game. And when Neville offered her the chance to miss a training session soon after her husband's diagnosis, he says 'she fought tooth and nail' to be allowed to take part in it. Every year brought new achievements and more respect from team-mates and opponents alike. Houghton sits in her England tracksuit in a quiet corner of the Football Association's training complex at St George's Park, where she is preparing for Tuesday's friendly against Spain in Swindon and smiles when she thinks about how far she has come since the days when she joined Sunderland Ladies as a 13-year-old. I don't think in my lifetime it will ever get to wage parity with the men but we have made so many great strides already. She became the team's record goalscorer from the left–back position, scoring in all three group games to help Great Britain to win the group with a 100% record, as well as making important challenges to help ensure the side progressed without conceding a goal.  She played in all three games at UEFA Women's Euro 2013 as England finished in last place; she described the result as "a massive disappointment personally and collectively as a squad. 'We have to sustain the league and have all the players full time, have full-time coaching staff and have two strong divisions. She suffered serious injuries immediately before the 2007 World Cup and Euro 2009, but recovered to play in the 2011 World Cup and Euro 2013. She has a horror of fuss and of sympathy. He has been everything I knew he would be. My focus is the World Cup now and fingers crossed it never, ever gets to the moment where I have to step away. There are few moments in the career of an international footballer that bring more pressure than performing at a World Cup when your country is among the favourites to lift the trophy. But something has changed. He's my priority. They won the SheBelieves Cup by beating Brazil and Japan and drawing with the USA and there is a feeling that the side possess the perfect blend of youth and experience to be realistic challengers to the US, who are the holders, hosts France and habitual contenders, Germany. , In October 2014, Houghton was the first female player to appear on the cover of Shoot magazine. , Houghton began her career playing for five years at Sunderland. The team's manager, Phil Neville, has given her his full support, saying that he wants his captain to put her family first. 'For the first six or seven months, I tried to be someone that I wasn't. Footballer Houghton involved with England team at U-16 schools U-19, and U-23 teams. So no special treatment, no concessions to her situation, no sympathy, no missed training, no change of routine. Last September, three months after they were married, Darby, 29, announced his immediate retirement from football and revealed he had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease, a condition that progressively damages the nervous system and for which there is not yet any cure. 'Football is not as important as what she is going through.'. 'She's a humble person. 'We can take the women's game as far as we want to go,' says Houghton.
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