After a tumultuous start to the season for Manchester City, Gareth Taylor’s side received a major boost as captain Steph Houghton returned from a long spell on the sidelines.
An achilles injury has kept the centre-back out for most of the season. The same injury also ruled her out of featuring in last season’s closing matches.
The Sky Blues had been missing a raft of experienced players that saw them extremely light in defence. With only Alex Greenwood consistently available at the back, Taylor had no option but to use midfielders and forwards to fill the defensive gaps.
When paired with an injury crisis among their goalkeepers, the result was exactly what would be expected. Too often, City were caught trying to play out from the back. This led to defensive errors gifting the opposition vital goals.
More importantly, they also lost points that saw the team slip further down the table as the season progressed.Embed from Getty Images
While Houghton’s return was welcome news for City fans, the announcement of her new contract extension will be even more so.
Rumours had circulated that the 2021/22 season could be the skipper’s last. This inevitably led to questions of who would take up the role Houghton has occupied for more than eight years.
With City still fighting for their place in Europe next season, Houghton’s contract extension will provide some much needed stability.
The defender has amassed more than 200 appearances for the Sky Blues throughout her time in Manchester. The No.6 has repeatedly proven herself one of the most vital assets in Taylor’s squad. In both her playing and captaincy roles, Houghton has made a name for herself in the English game and beyond.Embed from Getty Images
Her arrival in Manchester back in 2014 marked the start of a new era for the team. The centre-back became the club’s only captain since the team reformed into a fully professional outfit. In that time, Houghton has gone on to lift every domestic honour, collecting seven pieces of silverware in the process.
While the City skipper is best known for her work at the back, the defender is no stranger to getting her name on the score sheet. With a tally of 21 goals, many from her signature free kicks, Houghton’s prolonged absence from the pitch has been noticeable in more ways than one.
The length of the skipper’s new contract extension is unknown, but news that their captain has committed her immediate future to the club will no doubt provide a huge boost for a team in desperate need of continuity.
With Steph Houghton already one of the greats of the game, Manchester City will be delighted to have secured their captain’s future.