Steph Houghton: Manchester City captain out of Champions League quarter-final first leg against Barcelona

Manchester City captain Steph Houghton will not feature when her side face Barcelona in their Champions League quarter-final first leg in Monza on Wednesday, kick-off 11.30am; Lucy Bronze is back in contention after her own lay-off

Steph Houghton has been ruled out of Manchester City’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against Barcelona on Wednesday through injury.

The Manchester City captain sustained an Achilles injury against Fiorentina in the last round and has been unable to recover in time, but Lucy Bronze is back fit and in contention for Gareth Taylor’s side.

City face Barcelona at the Stadio Brianteo in Italy in Wednesday’s first leg, with the return match scheduled to follow on March 31.

“It’s one we anticipated would have settled down by now,” City boss Taylor said.

“It’s in the Achilles area, and it was in the first game against Fiorentina. I think it’s probably not settled down as quickly as we’d like, or certainly as Steph would like – she’s obviously really disappointed not to be here with the team.

“It’s really difficult to answer in terms of when she’ll be back. We’re hoping it’s not too far away, but we’ll always look at what’s the right thing for the player.

“We had this before, earlier in the season with many of our players, that we’re trying to see the bigger picture.

“As much as these games are big, we’re trying to see the bigger picture and make sure they’re back for us for the remaining run-in.”

Houghton: WSL players want same scrutiny as PL

Manchester City and Lionesses captain Steph Houghton says WSL players are desperate to experience the same spotlight, scrutiny and analysis that comes with marquee Premier League fixtures on Sky Sports.

Sky Sports has announced a three-year deal with the FA to become the primary broadcaster of the WSL from September 2021, a deal which Chelsea manager Emma Hayes says will elevate the game.

The deal will see Sky Sports show at least 35 games exclusively live per season and further strengthens the broadcaster’s commitment to women’s sport.

When asked if she is ready for an increase in pressure and attention, Houghton replied: “That’s what we want, we want to be under that spotlight and have the scrutiny. Team performances are the most important but individual performances will also be highlighted, whether that is good or bad.”

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