Houghton: Town Youngsters Have Bright Future Ahead of Them
Sunday, 16th Feb 2020 20:05 by Ali Rampling
England and Manchester City captain Steph Houghton believes the young members of the Ipswich Town Women’s team have a “bright future”, following her side’s FA Cup victory over the Tractor Girls.
Houghton has represented her country at the Olympics, captained England to two successive World Cup semi-finals and won a plethora of club honours with Arsenal and Manchester City. The defender compared Town’s experience today to her own when she was breaking through at Sunderland 15 years ago.
Speaking at full-time, Houghton said: “I was in that position a long time ago playing for Sunderland and going to the likes of Arsenal and Charlton and playing those teams as the underdog and I thought the attitude of the team was exceptional in terms of they never stopped running, they never gave up and they were always together so they’ve got a bright future ahead of them.”
Despite going into the game as strong favourites, Houghton was aware of the danger that Town posed as the underdog, and emphasised that there was no room for complacency from her side.
“We know there’s a lot of young [Ipswich] girls out in the England [youth] international set up and it was important for us to take it seriously and I thought we did a really professional job today. It’s the FA Cup so we knew we had to maintain our standards; we’re top of the league for a reason.
“But with teams coming that are lower than us and in different leagues it’s important that we concentrate and we knew that we had to get the first goal and for us always being the favourites it adds a different type of pressure but I’m really proud of the girls today.”
Town put in a performance of resilience and dogged determination, and Houghton was full of praise for the Blues.
“We knew with it being the FA Cup that it was gonna be a game where we couldn’t let our professionalism dip and we knew with the age of the team that it was always going to be full of energy, and you could see that from the first minute to the last minute.
“Ipswich gave us a tough game in terms of trying to press us and trying to use as much energy as they can but ultimately for us it was about doing the job right.”
Similarly, Manchester City manager Alan Mahon gave a positive assessment of Town’s infrastructure and ambition, and predicted a promising future for the Tractor Girls.
Mahon, who spent a brief period on loan at Town in 2003 and whose wife is from Ipswich, said: “It’s actually an old club of mine and it’s a fantastic club, they’re really fortunate if you look at the staff that they have and the investment they’re putting in.
“Even the first team gaffer for Ipswich Town has come today - Paul Lambert - and it goes to show the intent and that was one of the reasons I didn’t want to take them lightly. They’ll go onto big things.”
Photo: Action Images
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