Manchester City captain Steph Houghton has signed a contract extension at the Academy Stadium.

The deal will see the veteran defender remain at the club at least into a ninth season, having first joined when they reformed a women’s team in 2014.

Houghton will turn 34 in April but her presence at the club remains vitally important, highlighted by the way the team struggled without her as a result of a lengthy recent injury absence – she made her long awaited comeback in the Continental Cup this week.

“I’m delighted to sign an extension here at City,” she told the club’s official website. “Once the talks started, there was only ever going to be one outcome and it was the easiest decision I’ve ever made, to commit my future to this football club and continue on this unbelievable journey.

“It’s been a really good week with me making my comeback from injury too – it’s been a really tough four months, but I’m just so happy to be back on the pitch now.

“The eight years I’ve been here so far have flown by – when people say how long it is, I really can’t believe it! For me though, it’s always been about being at Manchester City and being a part of this club, for now and for the future.

“That’s why I wanted to commit – to really show my loyalty to my team, to my club and to everybody who has helped me along the way so far.”

Lucy Bronze also made her comeback recently following a spell out recovering from knee surgery and City will hope for a much improved second half of the season.

The 2016 champions were as low as ninth in the WSL table at one stage, having won only one of their opening five games – they lost as many league games in the opening month of the season as in the previous two combined.

But an improving City have now won their last three WSL games on the bounce to climb up to fifth, and only two points off the Champions League places.

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