Golden girl Toone destined for Lionesses greatness, reckons Bronze

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Soccer Football - Women's World Cup - UEFA Qualifiers - England v North Macedonia - St Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Britain - September 17, 2021 England's Ella Ann Toone scores their first goal Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley
England ace Toone, 22, netted a memorable hat-trick in the Lionesses' 10-0 thumping of Latvia last month

Birthday girl Lucy Bronze is backing Ella Toone to be a future England great as the Lionesses look ahead to next year’s UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 on home soil, writes Will Jennings.

Bronze returned to Manchester City’s side last season, having previously played for them between 2014 and 2017, and has fond memories of a young Toone showing up the senior players with her football skills and tricks.

Toone swapped City for United in 2018 and took to life under Casey Stoney like a duck to water before bursting onto the international scene.

The 22-year-old hit a hat-trick in England’s 10-0 thumping of Latvia this week and Bronze, who celebrated her 30th birthday on Thursday, says she’s destined for a decorated future.

She said: “I love Tooney – she was at City previously.

“As a younger player, she'd come to training and she used to always do rabonas and try and meg people and I used to think 'this girl could be so good, but god I want to strangle her because she's doing these rabonas all the time!

“I think the girls who played with her back then, when she was 17-years-old, we all knew she was going to be a good’un and I'm super happy that she's doing really well, scoring goals for England.

“She's obviously got the talent – Tooney's a good one.”

Toone finished as United’s top-scorer last season – bagging ten across all competitions.

The Euros next year will be Toone’s first major international tournament and with Bronze by her side, she will surely have the right mentors around her.

Bronze added: “I was quite fortunate that I played for England when Fara Williams played.

“She used to be a bit of a wind up and try and push the younger players and I think she's someone that set a good example for me as a senior player, that's not overly serious and overly hard on the kids, but equally pushes them and challenges them.

“I like to think I've got a good balance of that and a very good relationship with these younger players.

“I want to see them being as successful as they can be.”

The full schedule for Euro 2022.
The full schedule for Euro 2022.

The Lionesses will host next year’s eagerly-anticipated EUROs starting at Old Trafford on July 6 2022, with Sarina Wiegman’s side set to play Norway, Austria and Northern Ireland in Group A.

England have already beaten Northern Ireland in a World Cup qualifier earlier this year – but Bronze still thinks the competition will be fierce.

She added: “Either way, we were going to be happy with who we face because you're always going to play good teams no matter what.

“It's quite nice that we're playing two teams who we're currently playing in qualifiers. There's two teams who we know how to prep for quite well.

“Norway's a bit of a weird rival of ours from previous World Cups and tournaments. We have quite good games against them, as in the match itself. I've scored a couple of goals against them myself.

“All the groups are pretty strong. It's exciting.”

The UEFA Women’s EURO England 2022 ticket ballot application window is now open and closes 16 November. For more information and to enter the public ballot for tickets, visit www.uefa.com/womenseuro/ticketing

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