'I owe a lot to Manchester' - Steph Houghton recounts Man City career ahead of retirement

  • Steph Houghton is set to retire from football in the summer
  • She will play her last Man City game on Saturday
  • Houghton reflected on her career in an interview with 90min
Steph Houghton Reflects On Her Incredible Career In The WSL ⚽ MANCHESTER CITY EXCLUSIVE
Steph Houghton Reflects On Her Incredible Career In The WSL ⚽ MANCHESTER CITY EXCLUSIVE / 90min Football

Steph Houghton has hailed her decade-long spell at Manchester City Women as the 'best time of her career' ahead of hanging up her boots this summer.

The legendary centre-back recently announced that she is set to retire at the end of the 2023/24 season, bringing to an end an astonishing 22-year career in football.

Houghton started off her career at Sunderland way back in 2002, enjoying five years at the Wearside club before moving on to Leeds Carnegie and then Arsenal. Following a trophy-laden three seasons in north London - in which the defender won two WSL titles and two FA Cups - Houghton moved back up north to join Man City, where she has spent the best part of the last decade and played over 200 games for the club.

As well as enjoying a thoroughly successful club career, the centre-back was also a long-serving member of the Lionesses, earning 121 caps and captaining her nation at a number of international tournaments.

Looking back on her career at Man City in an exclusive interview with 90min, courtesy of Gatorade, Houghton said: "It's been a mad journey to be honest. It's gone so quick, I actually can't believe it's 10 years.

"From the moment I came here, I knew that I wanted to be here for a long time, and it's certainly been that. It's been the best time of my career, without a shadow of a doubt.

Steph Houghton
One last game / Jess Hornby/GettyImages

"To represent this football club every single day, and to see the journey that we've been on, is pretty incredible.

"It's so hard to know how to say how proud I am [to play for Man City], because I think everybody knows how much this club means to me and how much it's changed my life. I think I said it in my retirement interview, but [if I didn't] come to Manchester would I have ever met my husband? Would I have experienced all the highs? And also the lows that have made me a better person?

"I owe a lot to Manchester, not just the club, but the city. I'm always proud to wear the shirt and I'm always proud to be part of this team, and to be part of a group and can go and do something really special, and to have been at the forefront of that for so many years has been amazing.

"Obviously I'll be sad when I go, but at the same time I think it's right that somebody else takes over that responsibility. I'm a little tired now, it's quite tiring to do that for 10 years, every single day, and to really push your energy into other people and not really put myself first sometimes. But, ultimately I would never, ever change anything that's happened over these last 10 years.

"Everybody always focuses on the highs, but I think the lows, while they have been tough, at the same time have been really really enjoyable to [come back from from and] to get back to an even better level every single time.

"It's been a massive part of my life, and I absolutely love everyone that's connected to the club."