Jordan Nobbs hails ‘leader’ Steph Houghton as England chase World Cup glory

Jordan Nobbs, left, is a big admirer of England captain Steph Houghton, right.
Jordan Nobbs, left, is a big admirer of England captain Steph Houghton, right.
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Jordan Nobbs believes England have a model captain in Steph Houghton as the Lionesses bid for World Cup glory.

The return of Houghton from a knee injury just in time for the tournament in Canada came as a major relief, even to Nobbs, who would have been in line to lead the team had the centre-back missed out.

As vice-captain, Nobbs took the armband in Houghton’s absence, skippering England to victory over Canada in the Cyprus Cup final in March.

The 22-year-old Arsenal Ladies midfielder has lost her automatic place in the team because of Houghton’s return, although she will be a strong contender to start when England again face the Canadians in Saturday night’s quarter-final.

Houghton’s headed equaliser against Norway was followed by Lucy Bronze’s winner, and Nobbs - who, like Houghton is a former Sunderland Ladies player - has said to go beyond the last eight would be “a massive thing” for England.

She is hugely appreciative of Houghton’s qualities as a leader, and determined to learn from the Durham-born defender.

“We need Steph in the team and thank God she’s back, but it’s been a great privilege to be named vice-captain and I’m very lucky I’ve had the chance to walk the team out,” said Nobbs, the Teesside-born daughter of former Hartlepool player Keith Nobbs.

“It’s been one of the best moments in my career.

“I’m very proud I’ve been given the vice-captaincy, to lead as a young player and learn as well from Steph.

“I’ve known Steph for a long time and she’s always shown as a player on and off the pitch that she’s very calm and relaxed, but she makes decisions and she just looks like a leader as well, everything about her.

“She’s professional and hopefully I can learn a lot from her.”