Steph Houghton says she is yet to miss a training session during England’s pre-Euro 2022 camp and is confident she can return to her best as she attempts to prove her fitness following an injury layoff.
Houghton is yet to feature under Sarina Wiegman since the Dutch manager took the Lionesses hot seat in September, having suffered an achilles injury during the first England camp of the 2021/22 season.
The defender returned to action for Manchester City in January and made five WSL appearances, before undergoing achilles surgery in February after aggravating the injury, and subsequently missing the remainder of the season.
Houghton was given the chance to prove her fitness after being named in England‘s 28-player provisional squad ahead of Euro 2022. The squad is poised to be cut to a final 23 next week once Wiegman returns to St George’s Park following a close family bereavement.
“I back myself, I back my fitness, I back the work I’ve done that nobody’s seen, and I’m improving every single day,” Houghton told The Guardian. “I’m enjoying being back out on the pitch. I’m confident I can get back to my best.
“My fitness has never been an issue, in terms of a physical point of view, it’s just more about my actual injury. It’s not necessarily about the number of games that I have played, it’s about the experiences that I’ve had.
“I’ve watched a lot of football, I’ve watched all the girls’ games, I’ve watched all the England games, so I’ve learned from the side. Now, I’m just trying to put things into practice. I feel as though in my head I’m there or thereabouts, it’s just allowing my body to do what it needs to do and that’s to continue working hard over the next few weeks.
“I feel as if I’m holding my own in training. There’s a lot of players being managed in terms of a physical load because we don’t want to peak too early. It’s just about following the medical advice and building up my sessions slowly. I haven’t missed a session yet. My focus was always on trying to get back in the squad. I’m still not there yet but I’ve been given a chance to do that and prove my fitness.”
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