For my final interview as part of the College Times at Stockton Sixth Form College, I interviewed England Women captain, Steph Houghton MBE and reflected on the impact that the Lionessses’ performance at the 2015 FIFA World Cup has had on the country.
- When you won the FA young player of the year award in 2008, did you believe that your career would turn out the way it has?
Houghton: First and foremost it was a massive surprise! There were a lot of good young players that had made their England debuts in that year, so I was very fortunate to win.
Did I believe my career would turn out this way? Probably not no. I think I’m very lucky to be in the position that I am, especially being captain of both England and Manchester City. I’m very privileged and I’ll always want to strive for more.
- What is it like being captain of both club and country?
Houghton: Being captain of both England and Manchester City is a massive honour. It’s a privileged position to be in and one I take very seriously. I’ve developed over the past few years to be the best captain that I can be. In terms of both on and off the pitch, I always try and lead by example with my performance whilst trying to be there for the girls all the time as well.
- What were your expectations heading into the 2015 Women World Cup?
Houghton: I think you just have to take each game as it comes and we knew we had a tough group. As the tournament went on, I think we surpassed all expectations from everyone. We grew in confidence and performed better and better each game. To come away with a Bronze medal was fantastic.
- Can you describe how much it meant to have the British public supporting the Lionesses by the end despite little hype before the tournament?
Houghton: We knew before the tournament that if we were successful then we’d get a lot more people on board and throughout the tournament we always said we wanted to inspire young girls to play football.
Although there wasn’t maybe as much talk before compared to after, I think our performance got more people to come and support us and watch us on telly.
The reaction since we’ve been back has been amazing. The increase in crowds especially here at City was fantastic to see and hopefully that will continue.
- How do you think the England Lionesses’ success will help future generations in womens’ football and perhaps men’s’ football as well?
Houghton: I think our success in the World Cup allows us to strive for more, we’ve got the European Championships coming up and we know we want to be competitive and what we need to improve on.
I’d say that of course it’s going to help us and for younger girls who are coming up through the age group and want to play football. There’s a dream there to be had and to be chased.
I find that very inspiring for me as a player as with the rest of the girls. If we’re successful then it allows more players to continue to play and want to grow.