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Manchester City, England and ex-Sunderland defender Steph Houghton 'overwhelmed' by messages of support following husband's diagnosis

Steph Houghton playing for England.
Steph Houghton playing for England.
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Manchester City and England captain Steph Houghton has thanked fans for their messages of support after her husband Stephen Darby was diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

Darby, who started his career at Liverpool, retired from professional football after recently receiving the diagnosis from a specialist.

The defender, 29, joined Bolton in the summer of 2017 but has not played since December.

Darby and ex-Sunderland defender Houghton, 30, were married in June and the couple have received hundreds of messages of support on social media.

Houghton, who is from South Hetton, today tweeted the pair have been 'overwhelmed' by the support they have received.

"Thank you everyone for your messages over the last few days," said Houghton. "We can’t thank you all enough for your love and support. We are overwhelmed. We will keep fighting and most of all keep smiling!"

Motor neurone disease is a degenerative condition affecting the brain and nerves. There is currently no cure and it can significantly shorten life expectancy.