England women’s captain defends Manchester City riches

Steph Houghton claims that Manchester City’s wealth is only going to help women’s football grow in the country.

Manchester City were pretty much an also-ran in the Premier League until the Abu Dhabi United Group came along in 2008.

Since then both the club and English football have undergone numerous changes, making the fight for the Premier League title more competitive and seeing an influx of world-class footballers.

There have always been concerns that the rise of City, whose history in the last century is modest at best, is just symptomatic of how things have gone wrong in modern football, what with the commercialisation of the game and the apparently unjustifiable wages of the players.

However, there is one England star who believes that City’s money is actually good for the game.

Steph Houghton is the captain of the England women’s team and moved to City in January after spending three years at Arsenal Ladies.

The 25-year-old is a host of players who have joined the Eastlands outfit to feature for them in the top flight of the expanded FA Women’s Super League for the first time. Karen Bardsley, Jill Scott and Toni Duggan have all moved to City, making them many people’s favourites to win the title.

Just like in the men’s game, there have been concerns that City’s money will see them outmuscle the rest of the teams in the WSL and make the league less competitive.

However, Houghton insists that the players still have to work hard to win matches and believes that her club’s money is good for the women’s game.

‘A lot of people have maybe seen it in a negative way - a big club coming in and trying to be the best straight away. But I can't see what's wrong with that’, the Daily Star quotes the versatile player as saying. ‘From a women's football side it's good to see a club go, 'OK we want to do this professionally, we want to be the best and we want to give you the best.

‘We'll train on the right pitches, play in good stadiums, give you the opportunity to try and play and improve yourself. As a player you want to thrive on that. A lot of people think we're going to win the league overnight. That's not the case. We haven't set any targets. We want to take this season to find our feet, the staff and the management as well. It's all about the long term’.

City get their campaign underway with a clash against defending champions Liverpool on Thursday. Just as in the Premier League, these two clubs will be fighting for the title in the WSL as well.

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