Former captain Steph Houghton named in England's provisional Euro 2022 squad

Steph Houghton has been named in England’s provisional squad for this summer’s home European Championship.

The Manchester City defender has been in a race to be fit for the tournament, which begins on July 6, after undergoing Achilles surgery in February.

Houghton, whose most recent appearance came for City on January 23, makes an initial 28-player group that is due to be cut down to a final 23 by England boss Sarina Wiegman in the second week of June.

Arsenal midfielder Jordan Nobbs misses out after her season was ended earlier this month by a knee problem, further misfortune for a player who was ruled out of the 2019 World Cup by injury.

City winger Chloe Kelly is part of the 28, returning to the Lionesses set-up after her recent comeback from an ACL injury.

Chelsea’s Fran Kirby, absent from Wiegman’s previous squad due a fatigue-related issue, is back as well, while Jill Scott, who has been on loan at Aston Villa from City, is another included while working on her fitness.

There are also recalls for Manchester United midfielder Lucy Staniforth and Everton goalkeeper Sandy MacIver in a squad captained by Arsenal’s Leah Williamson, who was confirmed as skipper for the Euros – succeeding Houghton – last month.

Wiegman said in a statement from the Football Association: ‘The Euros are getting closer, and this is a big step towards the tournament. We have a settled squad and I know we have players in our team that will give everything to make it a summer to remember.

The Euros then open with England playing Austria at Old Trafford on July 6, and they will also face Norway and Northern Ireland in their group.

Wiegman is aiming to claim back-to-back Euros titles having guided her native Holland to victory on home soil in the 2017 edition.

That included a last-four victory over England, who have been beaten semi-finalists in each of their last three major competitions, and were Euros runners-up in 2009 and 1984. They last hosted the Euros in 2005.

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