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Steph Houghton insists Lionesses have right blend to win World Cup

French adventure: Houghton

ENGLAND captain Steph Houghton says the Lionesses can do something special at the World Cup this summer and provide inspiration to a new generation of female footballers.

Phil Neville’s 23-woman squad have warm-up games against Denmark in Walsall on Saturday and New Zealand in Brighton a week later before opening their campaign against Scotland in Nice on June 9. England came third at the 2015 World Cup, made the Euro 2017 semi-finals and in March this year won the prestigious, four-team SheBelieves Cup for the first time.

Asked if the current squad was equipped to win the World Cup in France Houghton, skipper throughout those previous tournaments, said yesterday: ‘Yes. I’ve been in plenty of squads in terms of World Cups and European Championships and all have had different strengths.

‘I think for this one especially we have the right blend of youth and experience, we have players who have played in top-pressure games where you have to go and win, and I feel we have a squad that wants to go and win and has that winning mentality to go and do something special in France.’

Asked what winning the World Cup would do for women’s football in England, the Manchester City defender said: ‘It would be absolutely amazing.

‘It would be a dream come true for us as players but for the game as a whole, I think you saw what happened in 2015 — success does bring interest and allow young girls to dream of being a footballer, and now there’s a pathway to go and do that.’