STEPH Houghton, Jordan Nobbs and Jill Scott were all involved as England Women opened up their Cyprus Cup campaign with a 2-0 win over Italy yesterday afternoon.

The North-East trio played prominent roles as goals from Karen Carney and Toni Duggan provided new head coach Mark Sampson with a victory in his first competitive game since replacing Hope Powell.

Houghton and Nobbs both started the game, with fellow Sunderland Ladies product Scott coming on as a substitute in the second half.

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Houghton, who has recently moved to Manchester City, came close to opening the scoring with a header that was tipped over the crossbar, and England claimed the lead when Karen Carney converted from the penalty spot shortly before half-time.

Lianne Sanderson forced a good save from Italian goalkeeper Laura Giuliani, before England doubled their lead when Toni Duggan drilled home after a surging run into the box.

England's remaining two group games pit them against Finland and Canada as they attempt to defend the Cyprus Cup trophy they won last summer.