LONDON (Reuters) – England soccer skipper Steph Houghton was the first player named in the country’s Women’s World Cup squad on Wednesday, in an unconventional unveiling dribbled out on social media, and revealed by a series of celebrities.
The Duke of Cambridge announced defender Houghton’s spot in a video message. “It gives me great pleasure to be able to announce that England’s defensive rock and captain Steph Houghton will be on the plane to France. Steph – congratulations. I know you and the team will do the nation proud. Good luck!”
The squad will be revealed over several hours to allow each individual their moment in the sun, manager Gary Neville said.
“We wanted to make sure each individual player had a special moment.”
Other early announcements included striker Ellen White – revealed by TV host and actor James Corden – and left back Alex Greenwood who was announced by singer Olly Murs.
Neville will host a news conference at Wembley Stadium later on Wednesday.
The World Cup will feature 24 teams, and takes place across France from June 7-July 7.
England are one of the favourites for the tournament this year. Their best result was a third-place finish in 2015 in Canada.
(Reporting by Ossian Shine; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)