What it takes to… hit the top in women’s football

England and Manchester City WFC captain Steph Houghton MBE, 31, has 114 caps for England. Her goal is to inspire confidence in young girls to follow in her footsteps

I got into football… at the age of four! There was always a ball at my feet. When I was 10, I was scouted to play for Sunderland. Then, after uni, I was able to play full-time.

Gotta have faith My PE teacher said I’d never play for England. I thought: I’ll prove you wrong. It motivated me and made me more resilient.

Confidence secrets? Exercising makes you feel good. And don’t be afraid to grab opportunities when they come along.

My message to girls Never give up!

I’ve learned from failure I came back bigger and better after two major injuries.

100% dedication I try to give everything I can, every day – on the pitch, in the gym, in meetings. The biggest sacrifice is living away from my family and not being there for important occasions, such as weddings and parties. I’ve been missing out for 13 years, but I have the best job in the world, so I don’t complain.

What empowers me My family. Without their blessing and advice, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

Girl power It was tough breaking into a male-dominated sport, but I’m stubborn. Although it’s not the easiest ride, it is getting easier – girls now have so many more opportunities.

Boots is partnering with the women’s football associations of England, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales. For more on our partnership, go to