Wiegman says dropping Houghton was a hard decision with Man City captain to miss Euros | The SunJune 16, 2022
SARINA WIEGMAN admits dropping Steph Houghton was a tough call with the Manchester City ace out of England Women's Euros squad.
The hardline Lionesses boss insists the centre-back, 34, was not ready after being on the sidelines since January with an Achilles injury.
Wiegman, 52, whose team play Belgium this evening, said: "This was a hard decision but I think she’s just not ready to compete.
"We set a plan in place with and for her and she did everything she could do and we supported her as well as possible.
"She came into training in a very good place but she’s just not ready to compete I think.
"It’s just a matter of time and we don’t have that time.
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"It was really hard, it was hard for every player that we have to disappoint.
"But she's such a big player, has made such an impact on the England game and she did everything
"But other players did everything too. It’s just really hard."
Debate has been ongoing amongst England fans on social media over the pros and cons of including the former Lionesses captain who has 121 international caps.
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Houghton, who had played just five WSL games last term due to injury, is yet to make an England appearance for Wiegman.
And there was no room for sentiment with the head coach making her boldest move since the September start of her reign.
On her choice to drop Houghton with the squad cut from 28 to 23 players, Wiegman added: "She needs rhythm and she needs playing time.
"Of course, she was really disappointed and I know she did everything to make it so she wasn’t happy.
"She just took the arguments I gave her and we left it for now.
"It’s hard but first of all you have respect for each other and you have open, honest conversations.
"It’s emotional but the best thing is to give honest answers and give the football arguments and bring that across."
Former Lionesses skipper Houghton was the most high-profile omission with the defender leading England in three major tournaments and Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics.
Four of the other five players dropped from the squad are Everton goalkeeper Sandy MacIver, Chelsea defender Niamh Charles and Manchester United duo Katie Zelem and Lucy Staniforth.
Wiegman's group features nine players taking part in their first major tournament for England.
Ellie Roebuck, Lauren Hemp and Beth England are among this number.
Jess Carter, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Alessia Russo, Ella Toone, Hannah Hampton and Chloe Kelly make up the rest of the debutants.
Jill Scott, who was part of the England team that reached the contest finals in 2009, has been called up for Euros duty for the fourth time in her career.
Wiegman also opted to include Fran Kirby, who has been out of action for Chelsea since February.
The fleet-footed playmaker has scored 15 goals in 54 England appearances.
On Kirby's inclusion, the England chief said: "Fran is doing well.
She's been in training for a while and has been in camp with us.
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"She has played training games and is ready to compete (against Belgium)."
Euros teams can make changes to their squads due to illness or injury up until their first games at the tournament with England facing Austria in their opener.
England Women 2022 Euros Squad
Mary Earps (Manchester United) Hannah Hampton (Aston Villa) Ellie Roebuck (Manchester City)
Millie Bright (Chelsea) Lucy Bronze (Manchester City) Jess Carter (Chelsea) Rachel Daly (Houston Dash) Alex Greenwood (Manchester City) Demi Stokes (Manchester City) Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal)
Fran Kirby (Chelsea) Jill Scott (Manchester City) Georgia Stanway (Bayern Munich) Ella Toone (Manchester United) Keira Walsh (Manchester City) Leah Williamson (Arsenal)
Beth England (Chelsea) Lauren Hemp (Manchester City) Chloe Kelly (Manchester City) Beth Mead (Arsenal) Nikita Parris (Arsenal) Alessia Russo (Manchester United) Ellen White (Manchester City)
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