England Women manager Sarina Wiegman explains decision to cut Steph Houghton from Euros squad

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 (PA)
(PA)

Sarina Wiegman has admitted it was a “really hard decision” to leave Steph Houghton out of the England squad for the Women’s Euros, but the former Lionesses captain just ran out of time to prove her fitness.

Houghton has been battling an Achilles injury all season but, despite not playing since January, she was last month included in England’s wider squad for this summer's Euros.

Wiegman trimmed that 28-women group down to 23 on Wednesday and Houghton, who has captained England and has over 120 caps to her name, was one of five left out.

England boss Wiegman has admitted it was a difficult decision, but in the end 34-year-old centre-back lost her race to be fit.

“That was a hard decision, but I think she’s just not ready to compete,” said Wiegman.

“I think we set a plan in place with her, for her, and she did everything that she could do. We supported her as good as possible, she came into training, she’s in a very good place, but just not ready to compete I think.

“It’s just a matter of time and we don’t have that time. It was a really hard decision. It’s hard for every player that we had to disappoint, but of course Steph had a such an impact on the English game.

“She did everything. It was really hard. Of course she was really, really disappointed and I know she did everything to make it.

 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

“It’s hard, but first all of you have respect for each other and you have an open conversation, and you have to have an honest conversation. So, yes of course it’s emotional but the best thing is to give an honest answer and give the arguments, the football arguments.”

Houghton and the rest of the five axed players are due to leave the England camp now ahead of Thursday’s match with Belgium. Wiegman will then name a standby list of players, which Houghton could be a part of.

The 34-year-old, however, will not take up a non-playing role with the squad.

“I think yes she has lots of experience, but in this squad we have also other players that can share experiences in the team. So it is just the 23,” Wiegman added.

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