STEPH HOUGHTON: My Man City team-mate Lauren Hemp is thriving

STEPH HOUGHTON: My Man City team-mate Lauren Hemp is thriving in Sarina Wiegman’s system… I don’t think she knows how good she is!

  • Lauren Hemp scored England’s second goal in 3-1 semi-final win over Australia 
  • I don’t think my Manchester City team-mate Hempo knows how good she is!
  • WATCH: ‘It’s All Kicking Off’ – Episode 1 – Mail Sport’s brand new football show

England have reached a World Cup final. I can’t believe it, but I can! I am so proud of them. You see your team-mates, your friends, living their dreams and you know how much work they have put in to get there. It is amazing. This is football.

My City team-mate Hempo (Lauren Hemp) was incredible and I don’t think she knows how good she is. She was at the centre of everything. For someone who is used to being on the left wing she is relishing her central role and I think the system suits her. 

She is a country girl who still has the accent and loves going back to Norwich. She has a brilliant family and is so humble and down to earth. She never changes, no matter what happens. I don’t think she will realise what she has just done. 

That was by far her best performance of the tournament but I know she will take it in her stride. She just loves playing football and everything is the same to her. To do that in the semi-final of a World Cup? Unreal. She has rare attributes and is one of the best in the world.

It stands England in such good stead that they have so many young players. Not just Hempo, Ella Toone is also 23, Alessia Russo is 24. The future is so bright but obviously we have a tournament to win.

I can’t believe England have made it to the World Cup final – and yet at the same time, I can! 

My Man City team-mate Lauren Hemp was incredible. I don’t think she knows how good she is

Hempo scored England’s second in the semi-final, in her best performance of the tournament

Getting to the final will be huge for women’s football in this country. I nipped to the shops after the game and loads of people had England shirts on and were asking me if we were going to win on Sunday. I would never have imagined that 10 to 15 years ago.

Reaching a World Cup final is huge. This is a big moment. Everyone will want to see the Lionesses, now. They are heroes and have a huge profile and the way you see them is by going to a WSL game.

I was so pleased for my old team-mate, Lucy Bronze, too. We experienced semi-final defeats together and she knows how much it hurts. I can get a bit emotional seeing her because I know what she must be feeling.

My over-riding emotion is happiness. But you have to go and win it now, girls! They have the experience of playing in a major final and Spain do not. England have the tools. Finish the job.

Steph Houghton is speaking to Mail Sport in conjunction with the Darby Rimmer Foundation. To donate, visit:

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