Steph Houghton: England captain out of World Cup qualifier with Russia

Steph Houghton applauds fans after an England game
Steph Houghton captained England at the World Cup in Canada in 2015 when the Lionesses finished third

England women's captain Steph Houghton will miss the World Cup qualifier with Russia on 8 June because she requires surgery on a knee injury.

The 30-year-old Manchester City centre-back will have an operation on Tuesday.

Arsenal defender Leah Williamson has been drafted into England's 20-player squad for the match in Moscow.

Lyon defender Lucy Bronze, who won the 2018 BBC Women's Footballer of the Year award, will captain the Lionesses in Houghton's absence.

"After playing with a problem for the last few months this is the best thing for me in long term ahead of a big year for @mancity and @england," Houghton posted on Twitter.

England are top of their qualifying group for France 2019, two points clear of second-placed Wales with three games to play.

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