England v Northern Eire: Lionesses can’t wait to return, says Steph Houghton

England v Northern Eire: Lionesses can’t wait to return, says Steph Houghton

England training
England’s worldwide towards Northern Eire on Tuesday is their first since 11 March 2020
Venue: St George’s Park Date: Tuesday, 23 February Kick-off: 12:30 GMT
Protection: Watch dwell on BBC iPlayer, Pink Button, on-line and BBC Sport app from 12:20 GMT; dwell textual content commentary on BBC Sport web site.

Steph Houghton says she “cannot wait to placed on the England shirt once more” towards Northern Eire after the frustration of not contesting a world fixture in virtually 12 months.

The Lionesses haven’t performed since a 1-0 loss to Spain in March final yr due to the coronavirus pandemic.

England captain Houghton says the facet are eager to get “again into the rhythm of taking part in once more” after they return for Tuesday’s pleasant at St George’s Park.

“We’re excited,” mentioned Houghton.

“We simply cannot wait to placed on the England shirt once more.”

England have had video games towards Germany and Norway cancelled prior to now yr.

Northern Eire accomplished their closing 4 Euro 2022 qualifying group video games and beat the the Faroe Islands 5-1 in December to clinch a play-off place.

“There’s a little bit of frustration there as properly as a result of we work so exhausting away from the worldwide scene to get picked for England,” added Houghton.

“You get picked within the squad and in the end you need to get as many caps as you’ll be able to. We need to present everybody what staff we’re and the people that we now have received.”

‘Legend’ Scott prepares for one hundred and fiftieth cap

Houghton says England midfielder Jill Scott is a “legend” and “top-of-the-line on this planet” as she prepares to win her one hundred and fiftieth cap for the Lionesses towards Northern Eire.

“She is a legend in my eyes. I’d have her in any staff I play in,” mentioned Houghton.

“Everyone speaks about what she brings off the pitch and the character she is however in the end she’s an unbelievable footballer.

“To point out that she has been capable of play 150 occasions for her nation reveals that. She has been top-of-the-line midfielders on this planet and has proven that constant degree of efficiency so I am stuffed with admiration for her.”

Manchester Metropolis midfielder Scott, 34, will nonetheless be 22 video games behind record-appearance holder Fara Williams when she reaches 150, however Houghton believes she isn’t completed but.

“I understand how exhausting she works and the way a lot it means to her to play for England,” she added. “I feel we throw the phrase ‘legend’ round however in the end to grow to be solely the second individual to get 150 caps, I am so pleased with her.

“It would not come by means of luck however by means of exhausting work and willingness to enhance and be taught.”

Likelihood for Northern Eire to impress?

Interim England boss Hege Riise says the Northern Eire gamers may even see the sport as an opportunity to play themselves into rivalry for a Group GB place on the Tokyo Olympics.

“After all it is a terrific alternative for us to see gamers and for us to make up our minds,” she mentioned.

“We do not know precisely. I’ve seen completely different kinds – three on the again and 4 on the again. So we put together for 4-2-3-1, and we all know their central line could be very skilled so we all know they’ll have pleasure going into the sport.”

Riise says England will concentrate on a “very skilled” central line for Northern Eire whereas Houghton expects a aggressive fixture.

“We are going to give them the respect they deserve,” mentioned the 32-year-old. “There are a variety of younger gamers coming in that is altering the best way they play so we now have to be respectful of that.

“Now we have to anticipate a tricky sport. They are going to be aggressive and aggressive. At any time when we play a house nation it is at all times aggressive so hopefully it will likely be a great sport.”

Northern Eire boss Kenny Shiels say he’s wanting ahead to seeing how his part-time gamers match up towards “the may of England”.

Shiels’ facet will use the sport as preparation for his or her two-legged Euro 2022 play-off in April towards a yet-to-be-named opponent.

“We do know that we now have women who’re nurses, work in B&Q and Lidl and all these issues, so they are not going to be conditioned the best way English gamers are,” Shiels mentioned.

“That is a serious drawback, however we’re taking that hit and we’ll attempt to present some braveness to tackle the may of England. That is what we’re doing.

“I am certain we are going to profit from that after which we take it into the subsequent sport, which will likely be an actual powerful one additionally.”

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