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Women's Team

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Houghton leads England to SheBelieves glory

SUPER STEPH: Steph Houghton captained the side to glory

SUPER STEPH: Steph Houghton captained the side to glory

Four City stars helped England Women to win the SheBelieves Cup with a stunning 3-0 win over Japan.

Captain Steph Houghton, Keira Walsh, Georgia Stanway and Gemma Bonner – four of nine Blues to have been selected in Phil Neville’s squad for the tournament in the United States – featured, as the Lionesses clinched the trophy for the first time with a superb performance.

READ: Tessa Wullaert | Fighting for 'Girl Power'

WATCH: Georgia Stanway's Barrow Escape

Goals from Lucy Staniforth, Karen Carney and Beth Mead handed England a commanding lead with just 30 minutes on the clock. Walsh claimed an assist with a delightful trademark cross-field pass for Mead’s strike - dubbed 'the pass of the tournament'.

Reflecting on the victory, Houghton declared: "It's an unbelievable achievement for the girls and the staff.

"We've been coming to this tournament for four years now and we've always wanted to win it. To finally get the win in the way we did is a fantastic achievement for the whole squad.

"We're delighted. You can see from the celebrations in the changing rooms - the music and dancing. We're tired but at the same time, we're looking forward to what's to come over the next dew months.

"For now, we'll enjoy the moment. It's good for us to know that we can go toe-to-toe with the best in the world.

"It will be different in the World Cup. We have four or five months to improve and get better but so do the other teams.

"We'll look back over the last 10 or 12 days - a lot of games and a lot of travelling. There are some tired legs but we've come here and won, and I can't stop smiling!

"Hopefully, there'll be a few more medals to come this season."

Karen Bardsley, Abbie McManus, Nikita Parris and Demi Stokes were named on the bench, as Neville rang the changes. Youngster Lauren Hemp had also been called-up to the senior squad for the first time for the trip, while Jill Scott had to withdraw through injury.

The triumph provides the perfect start to the year for the Lionesses and an ideal boost ahead of June’s World Cup adventure in France.

A 2-1 victory over Brazil and hard-fought 2-2 draw with the United States – with Houghton and Parris on the scoresheet against America – had already issued a strong statement of intent, but the manner of victory against the 2011 World Champions asserted it.

Neville’s side will host four friendlies in April in preparation for the tournament, including a clash against Canada at the Academy Stadium on Friday 5 April (7pm).

Tickets for the match are priced at £10 for Adults and £1 for Under-16s or Over-65s, and can be purchased online at mancity.com/tickets.

Congratulations, England!

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