Casey Stoney insists she is ready to give new England captain Steph Houghton her full support, even if admitting that losing the armband was a bitter pill to swallow.
Stoney considered retiring after she failed to make England’s squad for the 2005 European Championships.
She will be glad she didn’t turn her back on the international game though as she can now boast 116 England caps to her name, not to mention captaining Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics.
However, Stoney was replaced as England captain by Houghton for their opening 2015 World Cup qualifier against Montenegro earlier this month.
Houghton, who also shone at the Games in London, scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Brazil at Wembley, picked up where Stoney left off as she led England to a thumping 9-0 win.
And Stoney insists England are in safe hands with Houghton at the helm and that her door is always open should the new skipper need a helping hand.
“It only lasted 692 days but captaining my country and Great Britain in the London 2012 Olympics has been the biggest honour of my career,” Stoney said.
“To lose that role has been absolutely devastating. It has never happened before because previous captains have either retired or not been picked. Before me, Faye White stepped down because she was pregnant.
“It was a short but sweet experience. I'm not sure anyone else will get a chance to be skipper at a home Olympics, playing in front of 70,000 people at Wembley Stadium, so I reflect with so much pride that I got the opportunity to do that. At the time, it was like a dream you didn't want to end.
“But new England head coach Mark Sampson has chosen Manchester City defender Steph Houghton as the new captain and I accept and respect the decision.
“Mark said he chose her for the long term, nothing else, and I fully support Steph. Like me, she has overcome a lot to get to where she is.
“I know it can be a difficult job at times, such as when we crashed out of Euro 2013, and I did the best I could. I learned a lot about myself, I always took responsibility and I always put the team before myself.
“I have had long conversations with Steph to let her know that my door is always open.”
© Sportsbeat 2014