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Houghton believes Lionesses can roar again

Steph Houghton believes England can build on their bronze medal finish at the World Cup by winning the European Championship.

As Mark Sampson's side prepare to open their qualifying campaign with a trip to Estonia tomorrow evening, the City and England skipper asserts the Lionesses should use their success in Canada as a platform to greater things.

Speaking to the FA, the 27-year-old declared: "As long as we keep our feet on the ground and work hard I’m sure we can improve on what we did in the summer.

"We’re all feeling confident and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be after what we achieved in Canada.

"We feel that we’ve still got so much more to give. I know how ambitious this squad is. We always want to be the best.

"This is the start of a new journey now. What we did at the World Cup - we have to use that as an incentive. We’ve got Estonia and we want to start our Euro campaign with a win and a good performance.

"We know we are one of the teams to beat now and that is a great pressure to have.

"If you’d have asked me before the World Cup if I want that sort of pressure, I’d have bitten your hand off. We know what a good team we are and are stronger because of the World Cup, where we beat some of the best sides in the world.

"It’s a pressure that we should embrace. It makes you want to improve."

Alongside Houghton, four more City stars are in contention for a place in the starting 11. Karen Bardsley, Jill Scott, Demi Stokes and Isobel Christiansen have all been called up, while Toni Duggan and Lucy Bronze were forced to withdraw through injury.

Christiansen is set to make her first senior appearance for the Lionesses, with Stokes also hoping for a welcome return to the side.

Reflecting on the changes Sampson has made to his squad, Houghton stated: "It’s a credit to those players that they have been performing well enough for their clubs to be selected. It’s great that they’re involved with England again.

"It’s important to keep players coming through the system. We want competition for places because that’s drives us all on to perform to the best of our abilities."

England face Estonia in their Group 7 qualifier at 5pm BST in Tallinn.


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