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Women's Football News
Steph Houghton remains confident that Sunderland will achieve survival at the end of the season despite a run of results which have left them currently in the bottom two places.
The 18-year-old, who is one of the country's fastest rising stars, has taken over the captaincy at her club and is satisfied with the team's improvement in recent weeks. "We've improved as a team in every game," Steph told Women's Soccer Scene. "It's a young team, most of whom are playing in a new league. We lost a lot of players at the end of last season but it's a new experience and it can only get better."
Sunderland have played a series of tough fixtures and Steph is targeting the matches in which they need to get points from. "We know the games that, maybe, we can win three points from," she says. "Obviously, it will be tougher against teams like Arsenal, Everton and Charlton but we'll give it a go. There are teams we know we can beat - it's all about the performance on the day. But we believe we can stay up and it's just a matter of getting a few results.
"It's been difficult, but everyone has grown in confidence and we have gelled more as a team. Our team spirit is first class and that will pull us through, no matter how many players we have lost. Everybody is willing to improve each part of their game and everyone is willing to give their best."
Natalie Gutteridge is one of the new players to have joined Sunderland during the summer and the young striker is savouring the chance of playing at top level. "It's really good," she says. "Obviously, the pace is a lot faster but I am really enjoying the experience.
"We've played well enough in most of the games so far, it's just liitle things that need working on. But I think we can stay up and I am sure we will."
Steph recently joined up with the England squad for the first time and was on the bench in their recent friendly against Germany. "It's unreal," she admits. "I got the phone call on the Friday before the girls set out. It was such a surprise to hear that they wanted to call me up - it's unbelievable, everything I have worked for in the last couple of years. It was a great experience - the crowds, television, everything really!
"It has also come at an important time with the build up to the World Cup. That has got to be something I can try to aim for, to try and get into the squad (for China). I have just got to keep on doing what I have been doing and work hard and you never know."
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