Millie Bright on England captaincy: ‘I don’t give the orders

For Millie Bright the previous few months have been arduous. A knee harm suffered in March threatened her with the likelihood dealing with the identical destiny as her England teammates who’ve been compelled to stay at residence because the Lionesses search for World Cup success in Australia and New Zealand – however she put up with a “brutal” restoration to return in time to captain her nation on the largest stage.

Bright has huge footwear to fill. She has not solely been tasked with serving to to make sure the solidity of England’s defence however she has needed to take the armband from Leah Williamson, who was the chief on their European conquest final yr however whose ACL harm has saved her out of the squad.

Captaining England at a World Cup seems like an enormous ask, however Bright believes the position is much extra complicated than many could presume it to be. Sarina Wiegman has fostered an openness and want for debate throughout the group that has modified the way in which issues function.

“I think sometimes it’s seen as the captain has to say the orders but it’s not like that at all,” Bright says, talking earlier than England tackle Nigeria in Monday’s last-16 tie.

“Everyone is their own person and everyone’s got a platform to speak up and we learn from each other, no matter how many caps I’ve got compared to somebody else or the age [difference].

“While being the senior player you’ve got more experience to help, it’s important that everyone can speak up because we’re all here to learn.”

What, then, is the position of the captain if it isn’t to situation instructions and act because the gamers’ consultant to the broader setup to verify their voices are heard? “It’s firstly about always showing up,” she says, “making sure everyone’s got the confidence and the mentality to step out, play their game and express themselves and show who we are, show who they are on the pitch.

Bright has returned to full fitness after a knee injury

(The FA via Getty Images)

“Secondly, when the going gets tough you keep the belief, keep the calmness, and always find a way to win.”

It is of little shock, subsequently, that when Bright is quizzed concerning the captains she has adored essentially the most {that a} participant who carried out such a task for Chelsea, her Women’s Super League membership, and the England males’s group, involves thoughts.

“John Terry was a big one for me. I think that the way he carried himself… he always stepped out on the pitch fearless and stepped up. Every team that he’s played in I think he’s done that and he’s led by example, his actions have spoken louder than his words. For me that’s definitely something I believe in as well.

“Off the pitch I think he’s a great human, he’s very caring. I know a lot from a personal level that he’s always given a lot to the [Chelsea] women’s team. On the pitch, without a shadow of a doubt.”

As England travelled to participate within the match Bright’s health was nonetheless a doubt; she hadn’t performed in 4 months and was going to need to play her means again to health at a time the place there was little room for complacency. The 29-year-old believes the arduous work she needed to put in to return in time has paid dividends.

“I knew that I would put myself in a position where I could compete and play 90 minute games in back-to-back games,” she provides.

Sarina Wiegman has empowered England’s management group

(The FA through Getty Images)

“I think that that’s my mentality and character, but my rehab was brutal and I was put through my paces to make sure that I could withstand it. It’s part and parcel of the game. I feel great out on the pitch and I’ll rest, recover and repeat.

“The running, the running was brutal… When you have a short space of time it’s just about making sure you get up to speed, and make sure you’re body is in a position that you can actually return to training, and return to games.”

After three successive group stage wins all eyes at the moment are on England as they give the impression of being to Tuesday’s sport. Success there would then arrange a quarter-final tie with Colombia or Jamaica.

If England are to beat Nigeria then Bright’s signature level-headedness, her capacity to maintain her cool in defence, could very properly be wanted – and it’s a attribute she attributes to the teaching of Chelsea boss Emma Hayes.

“I’d probably say [my calmness is] the biggest area of development where I’ve seen a lot of growth in myself. I think mainly through club level at first Emma for me has been a great mentor.

“At the back you have to take that role, you can see everything from behind and you’ve got to make sure you get yourself in check first to make sure you’re able to help the team. I definitely see that.”

If Wiegman as soon as once more opts for an unnatural again three as England take to the pitch in Brisbane then Bright, who typically performs as part of the same setup for Chelsea, could possibly be much more essential than typical.

No matter how the defence is structured going forwards if Wiegman chooses to revert to her signature 4-3-3 formation given Keira Walsh’s attainable return, it’s clear that the Lionesses will owe rather a lot to Bright’s expertise and functionality as a becoming chief in the event that they handle to go all the way in which this summer season.

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