37: Steph Houghton

The England captain endured an injury-hit start to 2018 but Phil Neville believes she has been playing the best football of her career since the start of this season. Houghton returned to the national team squad and has retained the armband ever since, in the final game of the year against Sweden. She recently put aside a difficult personal situation and returned to top form as Manchester City continued their unbeaten start to the new season, scoring a sensational last-minute goal against Bristol and another on her 100th WSL appearance against West Ham.

Nick Cushing, Manchester City manager:

“I think Steph’s commitment and dedication and will to win and real ambition and drive is unrivalled in the game. She has a real consistency in the way that she applies herself and in the way she wants to continue to improve; since she’s been here from 2014 she’s improved so much as a defender and she was a good defender when she came. I think her ambition and her drive and her will to win is definitely an attribute she has over other players.”

Phil Neville, England head coach:

“Steph is a brilliant defender, her passing range is excellent and she has got tremendous leadership qualities too. When I took over there was no doubt in my mind that Steph would remain as captain. I think she’s currently playing some of the best football of her career. More importantly, she’s a wonderful person. When you have good people and good characters in any team then you’re going to have a chance of being successful. It was great to recognise her 100th cap at our match against Sweden at Rotherham.”

 

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