Lauren Hemp and Steph Houghton of Manchester City discuss contrasting years, England and developing women’s football | Football news
Manchester City defender and former England captain Steph Houghton admits 2022 has not been smooth but hopes the new year will bring a change of fortunes on the pitch.
Houghton has struggled for game time since returning from an Achilles injury and was not selected for England’s successful Euro campaign.
“Yes, it’s frustrating,” said Houghton Sky Sports News after surprising local college students at the City in Community event.
“This hasn’t been my best year in terms of injuries and a lot has happened behind the scenes but as a professional and professional athlete it’s about trying to improve as much as I can. body.
“When you’re not playing, it’s the most frustrating time. But for me it’s always been about showing my fitness, which I’ve certainly done since April, May.”
Houghton was named in England’s provisional squad ahead of the Euros but was cut when the team was reduced to 23 players.
Since then, Houghton has started two WSL games for City with Alex Greenwood, Esme Morgan and new signing Laia Aleixandri getting more game time. However, the former Lionesses captain remains optimistic in 2023.
“I’ve had a full pre-season, I’m fit and ready, I haven’t missed a single training session. In the end, I know I’m a good professional player and I know I’m there. It’s for the girls.
“If I continue to show that attitude and keep working hard behind the scenes then good things will come, hopefully that will begin soon.”
Houghton is one of several City players to have returned the favor this Christmas, surprising local students during a training session at the club’s training ground.
Man City’s ‘Time for Giving’ campaign has seen male and female players join the club’s commitment to provide 76,000 hours of free football to the community by 2023, while also spending time for patients, nurses and doctors at local hospitals.
“The club has raised more than £190,000 and we want to encourage people of all ages to keep playing,” said Houghton.
“It’s important that we give back and let the club give back to Manchester.”
Hemp: I never expected a year like this
In contrast, Lauren Hemp had a very different 2022.
The winger started every game in England’s Euro win and was named PFA Young Player of the Year for the fourth time. City’s players will part ways for winter break on Wednesday, giving Hemp time to reflect on the best year of her career to date.
“It’s unbelievable. Looking back at the success we’ve had at the Euros and with City… if you asked me if I expected that I would say ‘no’.
“It’s only a few months before you can look back on that huge achievement. It’s a huge achievement for women’s football with a record attendance since the Euros and that could continue in time. long.”
Along with giving back to the community, Hemp is also aware of the impact the rise of women’s gaming has on society as a whole.
“We have a platform to help attract a lot of girls to football. Euro has inspired young boys and girls even to wear hemp. It’s great to see that can go on for a long time. long and it’s important that we stay inspired post-Euro.
Now, Hemp can look forward to a long-awaited vacation after three years of playing football almost non-stop, one she will enjoy with her family in Norfolk to watch Christmas movies my favorite.
But the game is never far from her mind, especially with the World Cup coming up in the summer.
“This is the beginning of the journey, not just the end. Winning is not the end, this is the beginning of something and hopefully it’s something special.”
Lauren and Steph spoke to Sky Sports as part of the City’s ‘Time Giving’ campaign. To learn more head to www.mancity.com/CITC