England v
Venue: Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough Date: 5 October, 12:45 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC One and online, live text commentary and match report on the BBC Sport app.

England manager Phil Neville says “the Lionesses will do anything” for captain , who has shown “incredible class” in the last year.

Houghton, 31, married former full-back Stephen Darby three months before he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) last year.

“I wouldn’t wish the last 12 months that she has been through on anyone,” said Neville.

“She has had the best season of her career under incredible circumstances.”

Since Darby’s retirement last September, Houghton has led England to a World Cup semi-final and won the FA Cup and League Cup with .

England play in Middlesbrough this Saturday and the Football Association is working with Darby’s charity – the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation – to raise awareness of the illness.

MND is a degenerative condition that affects how nerves in the brain and spinal cord function. There is currently no cure.

“Her best quality is her mental strength. The moment that made me most proud of her was when she missed that penalty at the World Cup,” Neville said.

“Steph walked straight off and did interviews in the mixed-zone, where there were loads of very happy Americans, and she held herself incredibly well.

“And that shows, more so than what she does on the field, the type of person that she is.

“For someone who has played 114 times for England – I think it is only right that we do these types of things [work with the MND foundation].

“The players think it is a great gesture and the FA has done fantastically to allow this to happen. We saw Fernando Ricksen die of the same illness recently and we think it will raise awareness. And football is such a great stage to make things visible.”

BBC Sport has launched #ChangeTheGame to showcase female athletes in a way they never have been before. Through more live women’s sport available to watch across the BBC in 2019, complemented by our journalism, we are aiming to turn up the volume on women’s sport and alter perceptions. Find out more here.


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