Lucy Bronze reflects on her first experience of an international tournament
Ahead of her 88th cap, Lionesses right-back maestro Lucy Bronze reflects on her first international tournament experience in 2013 when she was forced to wear boots that were too small for her
- Lucy Bronze had to wear boots that were too small for her in 2013
- Her career has since started and she joined Barcelona this month
- The right-back is ready to make her 88th cap on Elland Road on Friday night
- She didn’t take the ‘normal’ route but reached the pinnacle of the game
Lucy Bronze can get a pair of football boots whenever she wants, now she is one of the best players in the world. But when the England right-back, who has just signed for Barcelona, headed to her first international tournament in 2013, things were different.
‘me and jordan’ [Nobbs] were the two babies on the team, we didn’t really talk about it,” recalls Bronze. “We were sent a pair of Nike shoes, almost none of the players were sponsored. But we were sent these boots, all we did was give our size, we couldn’t choose anything else, there were no names on it. And they were a little too small for us.
‘me and jordan’ [Nobbs] didn’t dare ask for another pair so we wore boots that were too small for us all the time. We’d be in trouble if we thought of doing that now.
Lucy Bronze revealed prior to her 88th cap that she was wearing boots that were too small for her in 2013
It was her first introduction to an international right-back tournament and she didn’t feel like she could complain at the time
“It makes me laugh because these days we have the guy from Nike coming in and measuring your feet and making sure they fit like a glove. That first dollar it was like “you get what you get girls and you keep going!” and we did!’
Bronze has risen so far that she will win her 88th cap for England on Friday when her team plays against the Netherlands at Elland Road in a warm-up for the European Championship, before traveling to Switzerland for their final exhibition game. Sarina Wiegman’s team will then start their European Championship campaign against Austria at Old Trafford on July 6.
Those 88 caps aren’t easy for Bronze, who knows about hard work in a Dominos pizza takeaway. She didn’t take the traditional road to success and there was a time when the defender, who has dual citizenship through her Portuguese father, thought she might never play for the Lionesses.
But she went to soccer camps in America with former American women’s coach Anson Dorrance, who later signed her to play for the University of North Carolina. Dorrance wrote to both the FA and clubs in England to convince them of Bronze’s ability.
Coach Hope Powell gave Lucy Bronze her first taste of an international tournament in 2013
Despite not taking the ‘normal’ way of Lucy Bronze, she has reached the pinnacle of the women’s game
“I was 12 years old and Anson said ‘When you are old enough we want you to play for university you will be such a good player’ and he even wrote to a few people in England and told them about me . It kind of fell on deaf ears, no one really contacted him. Maybe they regret that now!
“Coming from there and taking what isn’t considered the normal road, and getting to the top makes everything I’ve done even more special. It makes my family even more proud and I can pat myself on the back a little harder for it.’
England will be without record scorer Ellen White tonight as she tested positive for Covid on Wednesday. Beth England or Alessia Russo will likely start in her place. Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema will lead the line for the Netherlands.
Meanwhile, England have appointed two experienced players as ‘social media captains’ to talk to younger members of the squad about how to deal with potential abuse during the Euros. Half of the players who took part in Euro 2020 were abused online with mainly homophobic or racist statements.
Ellen White has been forced to temporarily withdraw from camp in England due to Covid