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Women’s World Cup: England’s Steph Houghton & Mille Bright ‘major doubts’ for Norway

Mille Bright and Steph Houghton

England centre-backs Steph Houghton and Millie Bright are “major doubts” for their Women’s World Cup quarter-final against Norway, says boss Phil Neville.

Houghton was injured in the Lionesses’ last-16 win over Cameroon, while Bright has a bug which Neville said was “going through the camp a little bit”.

“Steph is because of the tackle and Millie has a virus, so she is more of a doubt. It’s sickness,” Neville said.

“We will give them right into the last minute to be fit.”

Houghton is one of three players, along with Lucy Bronze and Jill Scott, to start every game of the tournament so far.

Neville said he was “relaxed” about the defenders’ potential replacements, Leah Williamson and Abbie McManus, who have both played in the World Cup and have featured several times in Neville’s team, including at the SheBelieves Cup.

“You guys have had an obsession with my rotation for the last 18 months… but it’s for moments like this,” said the England head coach.

“We can bring in two people who know the system and the have utter belief and confidence in each other. It’s a seamless transition.

“I said six months ago, we don’t want to get to the quarter-finals and throw in young kids who are untested, so there has been a plan behind [the rotation]. It’s for moments like this and I’m totally relaxed.

“I put my life on Leah and Abbie that, if called upon, they will be the best two players on the pitch.”

On Bright, he added: “She is in her room recovering.

“You’re going to pick up bugs and, touch wood, we have not had any injuries and illness, apart from one or two. It’s par for the course; it happens in life.

“She more than likely is going to be fit, but she’s a doubt.”

More to follow.

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BBC Sport – Sport

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