(Reuters) – Former England captain Steph Houghton has said it has been tough to deal with her omission from the national team as she aims to reach this year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Houghton, who captained England for eight years, was not called up by coach Sarina Wiegman for last year’s Euros where the team lifted the trophy to claim the country’s first major title.
The 34-year-old has 121 international caps but last played for England in 2021, as she dealt with an Achilles injury and underwent surgery in February 2022.
“It’s been difficult. It is frustrating from a personal view, and that won’t stop me wanting the girls to do well, but I still want to keep knocking on the door,” the Manchester City defender told BBC Radio.
“I’m back to where I want to be and I’m pushing for England. Anything can happen so I just need to make sure I stay professional and I’m ready.
“If that moment doesn’t come over the summer, then I think I just need to re-evaluate everything I’ve done over the last year, because it has been mentally tough.”
Houghton featured in and scored at major events such as the 2012 Olympic Games, and the 2015 and 2019 World Cups. However, in the latter, she also missed a crucial penalty in the semi-final against eventual champions the United States.
As another World Cup approaches, the Durham native feels ready to contribute to the success of Wiegman’s team, who also just won the Finalissima against Brazil at Wembley.
“I just want closure on the situation,” Houghton added. “I’m proud of all the girls and what they’ve achieved, but as a professional footballer you want to be playing in the best teams and tournaments and the World Cup is certainly that.”
(Reporting by Janina Nuno Rios in Mexico City; Editing by Christian Radnedge)