Steph Houghton focuses on Manchester City return as Euro 2022 looms

England captain Steph Houghton thinks of this summer’s European Championship as she focuses on recovering form and fitness with Manchester City

The 33-year-old defender returned to action with two appearances last week after a four-month layoff with an ankle injury.

His return is good news for England ahead of next month’s four-team tournament involving Canada, Spain and Germany, April’s World Cup qualifiers and, most notably, the hosting by the country of Euro 2022.

Houghton is a key figure for England (Richard Sellers/PA)

(PA Archive)

Still, Houghton, who cut other distractions by signing a new contract at City this week, isn’t looking that far ahead yet.

Houghton said: “My first goal is to try and get back into training and start playing again in a Manchester City shirt. That will be my goal over the next few weeks, to continue to get more minutes, to play well and to regain my form and confidence after a few months of absence.

“Yes, of course it’s an exciting time to have a home Euro in mind, but it’s just about playing well for City and then everything else will take care of itself.”

Houghton has been a cornerstone of City’s success since the club’s relaunch in 2014. She won the Women’s Super League title in 2016 and won the FA Cup and League Cup three times with City.

Neither she nor the club have revealed the length of her new contract, but Houghton has said she intends to stay at City for years to come.

Her position in the game would no doubt have made her a target for other clubs, but she insists she never intended to play anywhere else.

“I think the last few days have been a little crazy, but obviously I’m delighted to commit my future to the club,” she said.

“I’ve been here since the start – eight years – and I’ve loved every minute of it. I still get that buzz of excitement walking through the doors and coming to practice. I hope to have many more to come over the next few years.

“I think the only place I want to play football is in Manchester. I still feel like I can develop as a player, a leader and a person and I think that’s the best place for me.

Lauren Hemp has also signed a new contract with City (Tim Goode/PA)

(PA wire)

Houghton’s new contract comes after her England teammate Lauren Hemp signed a two-year contract extension with the club.

Manager Gareth Taylor hopes others will follow.

Taylor said: “We are constantly looking to be ahead of the game with contracts and looking further ahead, to see where we can improve.

“But when you change things up massively in the summer it can create problems, so the less the better for us.

“We are looking to really secure most of the players we have. We’re really happy with what we have right now. »

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