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Captain Houghton withdraws from England squad

Phil Neville’s side take on Spain in a friendly on Tuesday.

England captain Steph Houghton has a groin issue. (John Walton/PA)
England captain Steph Houghton has a groin issue. (John Walton/PA)

England Women captain Steph Houghton has withdrawn from the squad ahead of Tuesday’s friendly against Spain due to a groin issue, the Football Association has announced.

The FA said the defender – who has played 104 times for the Lionesses, scoring 12 goals – felt “mild groin pain” following the 1-0 loss to Canada on Friday.

Houghton returned to her club Manchester City, with the decision made to “rest her in order to manage her load” ahead of this summer’s World Cup.

Houghton has now followed Fran Kirby in pulling out of the squad boss Phil Neville named for the Canada and Spain fixtures.

Neville said last Thursday there was “no concern” about the Chelsea forward’s availability for the World Cup, despite her knee problem.

The Canada game at the Academy Stadium, home ground of City’s women’s side, and the clash against Spain at Swindon’s Energy Check County Ground are the first two of four ‘Road to France Series’ World Cup warm-up matches for England.

They also take on Denmark at the Banks’s Stadium in Walsall on May 25 and New Zealand at Brighton’s Amex Stadium a week later before their World Cup campaign in France starts with a meeting with Scotland in Nice on June 9.

Goalkeeper Carly Telford has also withdrawn after sustaining a concussion in training.

Telford took a shot in the face from point-blank range.

She posted a clip of the incident on Twitter, saying: “Be a Goalkeeper they said, itl be fun they said.

“Gutted to have been ruled out for both games… But good luck to the girls tommorow.”

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