Stephanie Houghton: England captain out of Cyprus Cup final

By Tony LeightonWomen's football reporter
England captain Stephanie Houghton
Houghton missed the 2007 World Cup and Euro 2009 through injury

England captain Stephanie Houghton has been ruled out of the Cyprus Cup final with a knee injury that will force her to miss the start of the Women's Super League.

Houghton, 26, is also out of next month's international against China.

But the Manchester City defender should be back before the World Cup finals in Canada, which start on 6 June.

"Steph will probably be out for eight to 10 weeks," said England head coach Mark Sampson.

"She's obviously very disappointed and at first she was concerned about the possibility of missing the World Cup.

"But once the injury was assessed and she was assured that she would be back in around a couple of months, she was far more relaxed about the situation."

Houghton sustained the injury in the closing stages of Friday's Cyprus Cup group game against Australia, where England's 3-0 win clinched a place in the final.

They will face either Canada or Italy on Wednesday.

The former Sunderland, Leeds and Arsenal player was ruled out of the 2007 World Cup with a broken leg and Euro 2009 through a cruciate ligament injury.

"We'll support Steph in every way we can in her rehabilitation," said Sampson. "I am totally confident that she'll be fine in time for the World Cup."

Manchester City's first game of the 2015 Women's Super League is on 29 March.