28 August 2020

England captain Steph Houghton opens up about ‘difficult’ and ‘confusing’ time as squad prepares for managerial change

England captain Steph Houghton has admitted the pending change of manager has been ‘difficult’ and ‘confusing’ but insists the squad are determined to turn around a poor run of results.

Lionesses boss Phil Neville will depart next summer when his contract runs out and is set to be replaced by Netherlands manager Sarina Wiegman.

Houghton is one of the most experienced players in the England squad (PA)

England’s form has been poor since they were knocked out of the 2019 World Cup by the US in the semi-finals, winning just three out of ten matches.

And Houghton, who has been capped 120 times for her country, has revealed the off-pitch circumstances have been a factor in the players minds.

“It's been a difficult period," she told Sky Sports. "It's been a bit confusing for us as players but, at the same time, at the moment Phil is still our boss and he's our manager for the next year.

"We have a camp coming up in September and, as players, the only thing we can control is how well we train and how well we play, whether that's in-house fixtures or fixtures against another nation.

"The last few games, we haven't played as well as we should have and that's not just down to us as players or Phil as a boss, that's us as a team.

"Lockdown has allowed us to reflect on that and, us as players, over the next 12 months or whatever it might be, the focus is to perform well as a team together, to respect Phil and do as much as we can to get the results that this team deserves."

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it has not yet been confirmed when England’s next fixture will be.

It has also not been established whether or not Neville will take charge of the Great Britain team at the Tokyo Olympics as his contract currently expires just before the tournament kicks off.

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