With 69 caps for England, including participation in every game at Euro 2022, Millie Bright now captains the English side and pledges to lead through example, empowering her teammates to showcase their abilities at the Women’s World Cup.
At 29, Bright took over the captain’s duties from Leah Williamson, the injured defender who guided England to triumph at Euro 2022. The Chelsea centre-back had the experience of leading the English side multiple times before their journey to Australia and New Zealand.
Bright’s approach is to be the first to act, providing an example for the team to follow. She is committed to consistently encouraging her team, ensuring they possess the confidence and mindset to play their best game, demonstrate their identities on the field, and uphold their composure, even under challenging circumstances.
Bright made her comeback from a knee injury and played her first competitive match since March in the Women’s World Cup opening game, guiding England to a 1-0 victory against Haiti on 22 July. She successfully led her team to victory in all their group games and will be wearing the captain’s armband again for the round-of-16 match against Nigeria in Brisbane.
Bright acknowledges the weight of her new role and believes she will fully comprehend the impact of her captaincy after the tournament. She draws inspiration from John Terry, the former England captain known for his fearless leadership, whose actions on the field spoke louder than words.
John Terry, who had a successful career as a captain with Chelsea, winning multiple titles but also faced controversy, is seen by Bright as someone who was courageous on the pitch and kind off it.
Bright, who had not played competitively since March due to an injury during the Women’s Champions League semi-final, was subjected to intense rehabilitation to ensure her fitness for the World Cup. Despite the pressure and speculation surrounding her fitness, she was determined to prepare herself to play full 90-minute games consecutively.
Despite facing criticism after her initial performance in the tournament, Bright remains unfazed and maintains her focus on the feedback from her team and staff. She values the importance of constructive criticism as it provides an opportunity for growth and development, underscoring that it is an inherent part of the game.