England captain Steph Houghton ruled out of World Cup qualifiers in blow to new manager Sarina Wiegman

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Captain Steph Houghton has been ruled out of England’s World Cup qualifiers  (The FA via Getty Images)
Captain Steph Houghton has been ruled out of England’s World Cup qualifiers (The FA via Getty Images)

England captain Steph Houghton has withdrawn from the squad for the World Cup qualifiers against North Macedonia and Luxembourg due to an ankle injury, the Football Association has announced.

Houghton sustained the problem during the Lionesses’ final training session prior to Friday’s clash with North Macedonia at Southampton’s St Mary’s Stadium, their first match under new boss Sarina Wiegman.

Fellow defender Leah Williamson is now to skipper the side in Friday’s contest.

Meanwhile, new England manager Wiegman has revealed she had to tell her players to calm down in training as the Lionesses set about impressing the Dutch coach.

Ahead of her first game in charge against North Macedonia , Wiegman said she had to step in during training this week.

Sarina Wiegman will take charge of England for the first time as they host North Macedonia (Getty Images)
Sarina Wiegman will take charge of England for the first time as they host North Macedonia (Getty Images)

“I’ve seen many things,” she said. “First of all, an enormous, great work ethic.

“I’m very excited I can work with the team, but they work so hard, sometimes we have to ask just to slow down a little bit.

“There’s very much quality. We had some principles we brought in, and they are just going for it and they really want to do very well.”

Wiegman, who led the Netherlands to Euro 2017 success, was appointed Phil Neville’s successor last year, but only took up her new role this month.

“What I know is we have a very good team, that the players are very willing to become better, to work together, very eager to learn,” she added. “The ingredients are here to perform really well.”

“We want a good win, scoring a lot of goals and conceding none. We want to show how good we are and make the English crowd proud of us.”

Additional reporting by PA

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