Women footballers deserve New Year Honours, says former Sunderland coach

Steph Houghton and her fellow England stars deserve major recognition, according to former Sunderland manager Mick Mulhern.
Steph Houghton and her fellow England stars deserve major recognition, according to former Sunderland manager Mick Mulhern.
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A quintet of former Sunderland footballers have been backed to win recognition in the New Year’s Honours list, by the coach who helped to set them on the path to success.

Former Black Cats players Steph Houghton, Jill Scott, Lucy Bronze, Jordan Nobbs and Carly Telford, were part of the England squad which finished third at the World Cup in Canada on Saturday.

Mick Mulhern

Mick Mulhern

They all started their development under the guidance of Mick Mulhern at Sunderland, and he now expects them to win major recognition.

He said: “They’re all going to get an awful lot of publicity, which is thoroughly deserved.

“It should be a no-brainer that the team will win the team of the year at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards. I think they will all receive at least an MBE in the Queen’s Honours list, as well. They are a credit to the country.”

England were beaten by an injury-time own goal in the semi-final of the tournament against Japan, but picked themselves up to defeat Germany 1-0 in the third-place play-off.

They are a credit to the country

Mick Mulhern

Mulhern added: “It was fantastic to see how well they did in the tournament, and I was absolutely delighted for them.

“I don’t think there’s another manager who can say they have had that many players who they helped bring through the ranks in a World Cup. It’s absolutely brilliant, and the first time England have achieved that at any level in the women’s game.

“They were so unlucky not to get to the final, because they certainly deserved to.

“To dust themselves down and perform like they did in the third-place play-off showed a lot of character, which I was not surprised about at all, particularly from the former Sunderland players.

“This is without doubt the best-ever England women’s team.”