WSL Matchday 18 round-up: Taylor lauds ex-England skipper Houghton
Manchester City manager Gareth Taylor believes defender Steph Houghton is playing the best football of her career as calls for an England recall intensify.
The experienced centre-back continued her excellent form this season with a goal in City's 6-2 thrashing of West Ham on Sunday which lifted her side to second in the Women's Super League standings.
Former Lionesses skipper Houghton, 35, has not featured for Sarina Wiegman's team since being excluded from the Euro 2022-winning squad last summer.
With current captain Leah Williamson ruled out of the World Cup due to an ACL injury, there has been debate over whether the 121-cap international could be in line for a return to the fold.
On those claims, City boss Taylor, 50, said: "That's not for me to say. We are happy to have Steph. She does really well as a player on and off the pitch.
"This period, I've spoken previously and said she is probably playing some of the best football that we've seen.
"She's got bags of experience and she brings a calming influence to the team. I think it is up to Sarina.
"She will have her own ideas and plans in place. If that includes Steph great, if not, nothing changes from our perspective."
Taylor was also full of praise for England star Chloe Kelly after the 25-year-old attacker scored twice in the first seven minutes of the dominant home victory.
Kelly's quick-fire strikes put the title chasers in command of the clash at the Academy Stadium.
She also had a hand in further goals by Khadija Shaw, Houghton and Mary Fowler after Laura Coombs had added City's third.
Taylor added: "She is playing with good confidence, she's a threat.
"There are some adjustments she needs to make. But it is really great to see her back and playing at this level."
Star-of-the-show Kelly told Sky Sports: "I'm excited for the future and how much I can learn and I'm doing just that playing with such great players and a great manager who I'm learning a lot from."
WSL Matchday 18 results
Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal
Reading 2-3 Everton
Liverpool 2-1 Brighton
Tottenham 3-3 Aston Villa
Manchester City 6-2 West Ham