Arsenal defender Leah Williamson has been named England’s captain for this summer’s European Championship.
Williamson captained the team in recent games, including the Arnold Clarke Cup, when Steve Houghton was injured.
Manchester City defender Houghton has not played for England since February 2021 and so the captaincy has been changed to give the team continuity.
“It’s an incredibly proud moment for me and my family,” Williamson said.
The 25-year-old added: “I am honored to be asked to lead us in the Euros. Steve Houghton is one of the greatest men of all time in this country and following in his footsteps – and all those special names who have led the team in the past – means a lot.
“Even though I wear armbands, I know we have a full team of leaders who share my pride and passion for playing for our country. Whether I am a captain or not, I will never take anything for granted and I will do my best for England every time I take off my shirt.
Millie Bright will be the third co-captain and Ellen White will be the third. Houghton, meanwhile, is concentrating on his recovery from injury to keep Achilles fit for the summer.
The Lions begin their Euro campaign in the opening match against Austria at Old Trafford on 6 July. Along with Austria, England will face Norway and Northern Ireland in Group A.
England manager Sarina Wigman said: “This decision gives us continuity in this crucial final as we move towards the tournament. It’s important that we give everyone clarity.
“Leah is a great leader for us and I know she will continue to set the example we need in her work on and off the field.”
‘A bright, young talent’
Analysis by BBC football commentator Vicky Sparks
After a flurry of questions about the captaincy for the Euros, Wigman has finally put the speculation to bed. We simply don’t know if Steve Houghton will be fit for the tournament.
Wigman decided that it was better for players to know who would be captain without waiting until the last minute to build up and prepare. That doesn’t mean Houghton won’t get involved, hopefully his fitness will let him. But that’s what Leah Williamson has been given as captain.
He is such a bright, young talent. Phil Neville tipped him off while England were in charge as future England captains. That moment came in a big tournament.
Charles and England are out of the World Cup qualifiers
Nim Charles and Beth England will miss England’s World Cup qualifier in northern Macedonia on Friday after a positive test for Covid.
The Chelsea forwards returned positive samples in the pre-camp test and did not communicate with their England teammates at St George’s Park.
Assistant coach Arjan Vরিrink will also miss the game after a positive test.
All three may be able to rejoin the set-up for the April 12 qualifiers in Northern Ireland.
England are five points ahead of Group D with six wins from six matches and a plus of 53 goals.
Winning their next two matches will secure them a place in next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Wigman has decided not to replace Charles and England with 22 players at the camp.