Lionesses captain Steph Houghton: We'll keep improving

Tuesday 21 Jun 2016
Steph Houghton celebrates with Ellen White in Serbia

Steph Houghton believes England’s Women will continue to improve as they begin their preparations for Euro 2017.

The Lionesses defeated Serbia 7-0 on Tuesday to progress to next summer’s finals in Netherlands.

Mark Sampson’s side, who won bronze at last year’s World Cup, are one of only six nations to have secured early qualification.

Houghton said: “We’re obviously delighted.

“Our aim was to qualify as early as we can, and being one of the first teams to qualify is credit to all the staff and players that have been involved.

“We’re making a lot of progress. Everybody has worked hard individually to get us to where we are now.

“We’ve had a little taste of success and we’ve got so much more to give over this next year.”

England have two qualifiers left, at home to Estonia on Thursday 15 September and then away to Belgium five days later.

Sampson’s charges have qualified as at least one of the six best runners-up out of the eight groups, but the skipper has urged her team-mates to finish with a flurry.

Houghton added: “Ultimately we want to win as many games as we can and we’ll be looking to pick up wins against Estonia and Belgium.

“They will be tough matches but we want to win every game and continue that winning mentality we’ve had over the last year or so."

She continued: “Of course we want to be up there, although we know there’s a lot of hard work ahead of us until the Euros finally start.

“But we’ve got a lot of quality and a lot of hungry players that want success for their country.”

By Glenn Lavery