England’s 67th cap holder Millie Bright is ready to lead the team against Haiti in Australia as captain.
Millie Bright is renowned for her formidable presence as a centre-back on the football field, whilst off the field, her persona shifts.
“Millie tends to be calm and quiet in her demeanor, but she has a knack for a TikTok dance,” shared Lionesses colleague Bethany England, discussing the new captain. “She is decidedly more outgoing than myself.”
Bethany England, who has shared the field with Bright at both Doncaster Rovers Belles and Chelsea, has observed Bright’s journey to becoming the potential leader for the European champions at the Women’s World Cup, given her fitness holds up.
Previously, Bright acted as the vice-captain under Leah Williamson at Euro 2022, and she was prepared to reprise this role at the Australia and New Zealand tournament this summer.
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The Chelsea defender, Bright, has also been grappling with injury concerns. As England begins their World Cup campaign against Haiti on July 22, Bright will enter the field having not played any competitive football since March due to a knee issue.
Most players would be overwhelmed by such a setback. However, ex-Chelsea defender Claire Rafferty shared with Sport News Center that the 29-year-old Bright’s bravery is unparalleled in the sport.
“In crucial games such as the FA Cup finals, she has proven her reliability,” commented Rafferty, who played with a younger Bright at Chelsea from 2015 to 2018.
“She was frequently seen with her music on, dancing, and then she’d suddenly switch to a focused mindset. She displayed maturity beyond her age. Her ability to handle things struck me as almost superhuman.
“She was particularly close to [former Chelsea captain] Katie Chapman – she wasn’t the most vocal, but she commanded the field with her instructions. She was not a big name at first, but she managed to integrate into the team.
“In the locker room, she was the one controlling the music – and she had an excellent and diverse taste, mostly R&B. To be the one playing the music requires some courage.”
Beyond her selection of music, Bright has developed significantly over her eight years at Chelsea and has become a vital part of manager Emma Hayes’ leadership team.
‘A shocking revelation’
“Millie never seems to exhibit nerves,” remarked Rafferty. “Unlike me, who tends to get a bit anxious, Millie takes everything in stride.
“Her approach to life is fairly light-hearted – her family and her dogs take priority. While she’s committed to giving her best on the field, she remains unfazed by external influences.”
Bright’s persona is reflected in her tattoos, with her partner’s face and a tiger on her left forearm’s exterior and a dreamcatcher on the inner side.
Bright initiated her career at Doncaster Rovers Belles before moving to Chelsea in 2015
“Every game, my mother tells me to ‘dream big’,” Bright disclosed about the symbolism behind her tattoo.
An owl tattoo on her left bicep represents “memories from back home – every year at the stables, an owl would visit,” according to Bright.
Even as she’s immensely proud to captain her country at the World Cup, Bright believes her grounded approach to life will reflect inher leadership style.
“I hope people see the same Millie every day, regardless of the circumstances,” she expressed. “I naturally lead for the team.
“I demand a certain level of performance from the group. I see myself as the driver due to my competitiveness – there’s a constant need to strive for better, year after year.”
After her centre-back partner Williamson’s injury, Bright, who has been keeping in touch with her, admitted that the new duties as captain only crossed her mind recently.
“My immediate reaction was shock at [Williamson’s] severe injury,” Bright revealed.
“I strongly believe that every captain is unique – each has their own qualities and leads in their distinct way,” she added.
‘Unified Effort for Millie’
Former England goalkeeper Carly Telford believes that Bright, who has previously assumed the role of captain at Chelsea, will bring her own approach to the role.
“Millie is somewhat different from Leah,” Telford told Sport News Center. “Leah’s leadership extends on and off the field, while Millie primarily leads on the field, especially through her training.
“There’s an undeniable urge to fight for Millie. Even though we will miss Leah’s ability, the drive to fight for the captain will remain strong with Millie in the role. That aspect won’t change.
“Leah will undoubtedly provide guidance to Millie if needed.
“Millie demonstrates her leadership through her work on the pitch. Having participated in several tournaments, she brings a wealth of experience, and she knows how to motivate the team both on and off the field.”
Bright, positioned in the center, is good friends with fellow England player Rachel Daly
The current England squad is also keen to see their captain lead in her authentic style.
“For any leader, the most effective approach is to remain true to oneself,” stated defender Niamh Charles. “Millie might be less vocal, but her actions speak volumes.
“The hope is that the armband doesn’t drastically change one’s demeanor. [Bright] has always been part of the leadership group. You can always rely on her for help and advocacy, and she serves as the link with the staff.
“Being a natural leader, there’s not much she needs to change.”
Assuming Bright’s fitness permits her to face Haiti, England’s team will benefit from the inclusion of a formidable defender, a proven winner at club level, and a highly respected teammate.
“As a player, she’s an intimidating force on the field,” said England. “I’ve been on the receiving end of quite a few of Millie Bright’s tackles!
“She brings a significant presence to the team, leading the backline with confidence and physicality, which most strikers probably dread. Her power is intimidating.
“Or perhaps that’s just my experience!”
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Millie Bright
Who will be captaining the England team at the Women’s World Cup?
Millie Bright, a well-regarded centre-back, will be captaining the England team at the Women’s World Cup.
How many England caps has Millie Bright won?
Millie Bright has won 67 England caps and will be adding more as she leads the team in the World Cup.
What position does Millie Bright play on the field?
Millie Bright is a centre-back, widely recognized as one of the most feared in world football.
How has Millie Bright’s career progressed?
Millie Bright started her career at Doncaster Rovers Belles before joining Chelsea in 2015. Over the years, she has grown significantly in her role and is now part of manager Emma Hayes’ key leadership team.
Why is Millie Bright captaining the England team in the Women’s World Cup?
Millie Bright was initially the vice-captain, set to serve under Leah Williamson. However, due to Williamson’s injury, Bright will step up to the captaincy role.
What is Millie Bright’s leadership style?
Millie Bright is a natural leader who tends to lead through her actions on the pitch rather than through words. She is known for her high standards, competitiveness, and the ability to motivate her team.
What is the significance of Millie Bright’s tattoos?
Millie Bright’s tattoos reflect her personality and memories. Her partner’s face and a tiger are tattooed on her left outside forearm, and a dreamcatcher on the inside of the arm is a nod to her mother’s advice to “dream big”. An owl on her left bicep represents memories from her stables where an owl would visit annually.