THE debate about whether or not it is right to bring Wayne Rooney back into the England football team for a friendly against the USA next week will no doubt go on until the final whistle blows and the record goal-scorer disappears back off to Major League Soccer.

Sadly, the issue of Rooney’s 120th appearance and ceremonial send-off will attract much more attention than another England superstar due to reach an international milestone in the next few days.

On Sunday Steph Houghton, the County Durham footballer who captains Manchester City and England, is set to earn her 100th cap in front of a home crowd in Rotherham.

She would have done so last night away in Austria if manager Phil Neville hadn’t “banned” her from playing, saying she deserved a celebratory match on home turf. “She actually doesn’t want it to be about her because she is so humble,” said Neville.

It is not a competition to see who should get the most recognition – both Rooney and Houghton have achieved so much in their respective careers. However in the ruthless world of sport, Rooney’s time has been and gone. Houghton is still at the top of her game, and throughout her career has been a true ambassador for football and women’s sport.

As The Northern Echo’s overall Local Hero awards winner in 2015 she demonstrated her dignity and class, and in recent weeks, despite personal heartache, she has continued to lead club and country with distinction.

We wish her all the best on Sunday – Houghton deserves all the headlines for her remarkable achievement.