Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Houghton Is Perfect Leader for Lionesses; Steph's Qualities Shine through, Says Vice-Captain

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Houghton Is Perfect Leader for Lionesses; Steph's Qualities Shine through, Says Vice-Captain

Article excerpt

Byline: John Skilbeck

JORDAN Nobbs believes England have a model captain in Steph Houghton as the Lionesses bid for World Cup glory.

The return of former Sunderland player Houghton from a knee injury just in time for the tournament in Canada came as a major relief, even to Nobbs, who would have been in line to lead the team had the centreback missed out.

As vice-captain, Nobbs took the armband in Houghton's absence, skippering England to victory over Canada in the Cyprus Cup final in March.

The 22-year-old Arsenal Ladies midfielder has lost her automatic place in the team because of Houghton's return, although she will be a strong contender to start when England again face the Canadians in Saturday night's quarter-final.

Houghton's headed equaliser against Norway was followed by Lucy Bronze's winner, and Nobbs has said to go beyond the last eight would be "a massive thing" for England.

She is hugely appreciative of Houghton's qualities as a leader, and determined to learn from the Durham-born defender.

"We need Steph in the team and thank God she's back, but it's been a great privilege to be named vice-captain and I'm very lucky I've had the chance to walk the team out," said Nobbs, the Stockton-born daughter of former Hartlepool player Keith Nobbs. "It's been one of the best moments in my career.

"I'm very proud I've been given the vice-captaincy, to lead as a young player and learn as well from Steph.

"I've known Steph for a long time and she's always shown as a player on and off the pitch that she's very calm and relaxed, but she makes decisions and she just looks like a leader as well, everything about her.

"She's professional and hopefully I can learn a lot from her."

England have travelled west to Vancouver, far from home for most of the squad. But for striker Jodie Taylor the west coast of North America is where she is most comfortable.

She studied across the border and down the coast in Oregon, and plays in the same state for the Portland Thorns, the world's best-supported women's club side who regularly attract crowds of around 15,000 spectators. …

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