Steph Houghton praised by England colleague and Arsenal star Rachel Yankey

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Last Updated: 11/12/13 8:31pm

Rachel Yankey: Steph will always be one of us

Rachel Yankey has paid tribute to her former Arsenal team-mate Steph Houghton following the England international's transfer to Manchester City last week.

The versatile Houghton became the latest player to join the revolution at City following their capture of fellow England internationals Toni Duggan and Jill Scott from Everton, and Lincoln Ladies goalkeeper Karen Bardsley.

Yankey, who has won a staggering 21 trophies over the course of 12 seasons with Arsenal, says City have acquired the services of an exceptional talent in Houghton.

"Steph is a very talented young player who is versatile and can play pretty much anywhere," Yankey told skysports.com.

"It's a great signing for them and for Steph, obviously, it's a new challenge and she'll want to work hard and make an impact in whatever position she plays in.

"We're obviously gutted to lose her, but you have to respect every player's choice and situation.

"Although she is now a former Arsenal player we will always look at her as a team-mate because she did a lot for Arsenal Football Club.

"She deserves that level of respect from all of us and we obviously wish her well in her new journey."

Yankey, England's most capped player in history, was speaking at a launch event to confirm her school-based Rachel Yankey Elite Athlete Experience Day Project will expand into secondary schools next year.

She has played with Houghton in each of the last three seasons for club and country and was in the Arsenal line-up when the 25-year-old scored from 30 yards against Lincoln Ladies.

Houghton's curled effort was awarded goal of the season at last month's FA Women's Football Awards and Yankey insisted the strike was a worthy winner of the accolade.

"Steph's goal against Lincoln was decent," Yankey said. "It was a good goal and much need as well because I think we need it to draw the game so it was a crucial goal and a decent goal to win goal of the season - she did well there.

"Let's hope she plays in defence and doesn't score any more now," Yankey said tongue-in-cheek. "We are all wishing Steph the best of luck but not when we play against her!"