Steph Houghton talks Phil Neville and the female pundits making waves at Russia 2018

The England captain talked to us at our Boat Party about the Lioness' new manager, and also discussed the female pundits making an impact on Russia 2018...


Phil Neville has been in charge since February, and it’s been a great change for us and something new. He has bundles of experience, having played at the top level and won major trophies, which is also our aim.

The relationship between him and me as captain is still very fresh and new, but we’re trying to buy into what he wants us to be like as a team. I’m enjoying working with him – so far, so good.

The way he was managed by Alex Ferguson at Manchester United was all about being professional and being good people. That’s something that he has tried to ingrain in us from the beginning. He asks us to do things as well as we can and to be professional around the camp, to treat everyone including team-mates and staff with the respect they deserve.

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His idea is that if you work hard and respect one another, you can go a long way. The finer details in terms of how he wants us to play are coming together.

We have two more games to qualify for the World Cup, and if we either win both or draw one and win one we progress, so once that’s done we can start to focus and build towards the finals next year.

Female Pundits are making an impact on Russia 2018

I’ve had a few punditry roles and have always enjoyed myself and been made feel very welcome. For me it’s a bit like football: if you’re good enough to be there, you deserve to be there. It’s important that the women who are on these shows are knowledgeable and do their research as much as the men do.

We need to give everybody a chance. The punditry that I’ve seen over the World Cup has been very enjoyable.

The profile of women’s football and female players is growing, so when people retire it’s great to have the option of punditry or TV work, and it shows how much the women’s game is progressing. Alex Scott is one of those who’s leading the way – she’s working hard and it’s great to see that people like her have the confidence to show their personality on television.

Obviously the male profile in comparison to ours is far ahead just because of how long the men’s game has been going and the amount of coverage it receives.

For me, over this World Cup it has been a great opportunity to show that there are different people involved in football and the way they analyse it is different.

It’s been really insightful and for me, being 30 and likely only having a few years left, punditry is something in which I would be really interested, and watching what’s happening only makes me more confident that I can do it.

At the end of the day, the TV channels will pick the right person for the job. It’s exciting that women are given more of a chance.

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What do you think?