Saturday, June 25

Sarina Wiegman explains Steph Houghton omission from England Euro 2022 squad

Sarina Wiegman has explained that Steph Houghton was not selected for Euro 2022 as she was ‘not ready to compete’ following her Achilles injury.

Houghton was one of five players cut for England’s final 23-player squad alongside Sandy MacIver, Niamh Charles, Katie Zelem and Lucy Staniforth.

The centre-back suffered an Achilles injury during Wiegman’s maiden England camp in September, and has not featured for club or country since undergoing surgery in February.

“That was a hard decision,” Wiegman said. “But I think she’s just not ready to compete. I think we set a plan in place with her and she did everything that she could do and we supported her as good as possible.

“She came in to training, she’s in a very good place but just not ready to compete I think. It’s just a matter of time, and we don’t have that time.”

Houghton was given the opportunity to prove her fitness to Wiegman after being named in England’s 28-player provisional squad, and has been in camp at St George’s Park since the final week of May.

However, she was always going to face an uphill battle given the abundance of central defensive options England have at their disposal, with Millie Bright, Alex Greenwood, Leah Williamson, Jess Carter and Lotte Wubben-Moy all named in the final 23.

The 34-year-old has been capped 121 times by England, and Euro 2022 will mark the first major tournament that the Lionesses have competed in without Houghton since 2009.

“It’s hard for every player that we had to disappoint,” added Wiegman. “For such a big player who’s had such an impact on the England game. And she did everything, but other players do everything too, and it’s just really hard.”

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