England superstar Lucy Bronze has revealed why she won’t be playing in the WSL ‘anytime soon’ and how both Gareth Southgate and Declan Rice have been inspiring the team ahead of the women’s Euros.
Speaking exclusively to talkSPORT ahead of the home competition, the three-time Champions League winner was full of excitement for the July tournament.
Widely considered as one of the very best players to represent the Lionesses, Bronze will be hoping to follow up her trophy-laden club career with top honours for England.
The 2022 tournament, which will be live and exclusive on talkSPORT, offers England a chance at glory under new manager Sarina Wiegman, who won the last edition in 2017 with the Netherlands.
Weigman recently announced her 23-woman squad for the tournament and Bronze said spirits are high for a competition England last hosted way back in 2005.
The right-back said: “At the minute everything is going really well, you wouldn’t know that a moment like that’s coming up because everybody’s in great spirits.
“I think I probably might have briefly watched , but my memory is awful. I’m very fortunate that I actually played with the majority of the girls who did play in that tournament.
“I heard a lot of their stories from the tournament and how different this tournament’s going to be to that.
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“It’s going to be unbelievable for the growth of the game, the fact that we’re playing in these huge stadiums, we’re selling it out.
“All the media that’s involved, everything that’s involved where the teams are and even where the leagues are in England, everything is so different, light years ahead of where it was in 2005.
“We’ve got a huge opportunity to shape the future of the game in our country for the players and the girls who played in Canada (when England finished third in the World Cup).
“I think that was a moment where we realised that it can change what it looks like back home. So to be doing it at home, to have this opportunity to play in a tournament where we can inspire so many people in the country and everyone’s nearby, hopefully the streets are plastered in England, flags and posters of players and things like that.
“I can just imagine this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for all of us and an opportunity that I’m sure all of us will be so excited about.”
The tournament represents a repeat of sorts from the men’s team, who played the majority of their Euro 2020 games last summer at Wembley, and two key figures have been offering support.
“I was speaking to [Gareth Southgate] the other week and he’s just asking if we’re all excited,” Bronze said.
“Obviously the lads were in last week when we were here and they were sharing experiences of the tournament last year that they played in and how incredible it was to have the home and support and how much it added to the team.
“Which was brilliant because you hear in the past so many times where that pressure on the England team is kind of way too much. But the lads said it was unbelievable last year.
“Declan Rice, I was sat looking at him and he had the biggest smile on his face and said ‘Honestly guys you’re going to absolutely love it, It was amazing’.
“It was obviously his first tournament last year for England, and he was just like, ‘The memories that I’ve made, the moments on the pitch, off the pitch was unbelievable, it was more than I could have ever expected’.
“And yeah, just seeing the kind of smiles on their faces when they’re talking about it just makes you so excited that we’ve kind of got that to come ahead and to have them messages of support from the boys and Gareth himself was brilliant.”
Bronze, a three-time Women’s Super League winner, left the UK in 2017 to play for European heavyweights Lyon where she achieved incredible team and individual success.
That three-year stint was sandwiched between spells with Man City, the second of which hasn’t quite live up to expectations.
The 30-year-old admitted she didn’t feel right back in England, and won’t be signing for another WSL after leaving City.
She admitted: “My contract finished and I never really felt right when I came back in the two years I spent there.
“I worked hard, obviously I had a problem with my knee and that kept me out of the game for a little bit. But yeah, I just wasn’t happy there. So I’m off to find another new challenge ahead.
“[I won’t be playing in the WSL] anytime soon, but yeah, maybe it’s in the future again. But right now, I don’t know.
“There’s something about being in England that I thought was going to be amazing and it was going to be like home, but England’s never really felt like home to me in terms of domestic football.”
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