Millie Bright can relieve England's red-hot World Cup pressure

·3-min read
Millie Bright can relieve England's red-hot World Cup pressure

Millie Bright is the ice-cool character who can relieve the red-hot pressure on England heading into this year’s Women’s World Cup, according to former Lioness and teammate Anita Asante.

The Chesterfield-raised Chelsea defender, 29, was part of Sarina Wiegman's history-making Euro 2022 squad last summer and is renowned for her vibrant energy both on and off the pitch.

And Asante, who played with Bright at Chelsea between 2018 to 2020, believes that Bright's relaxed attitude can hold the key to keeping the Lionesses grounded ahead of the looming World Cup in Australia.

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"We have some really down to earth and humble players within the Lionesses, and they seem to be level-headed and supportive of each other," she said.

"You take players like Millie Bright who I played with at Chelsea, she's fun loving and full of energy and character.

"But she also knows how to take time to herself and relax and that's the key.

"They won't be going in overconfident. This is a reset button, and they have to replicate the performances that we saw during the Euros now.

"But they will also be wanting to make some improvements on those performances.

"Off the back of the Euros, they will be heading into this World Cup as favourites which is something that they will be needing to manage.

"There's just such a good wealth of experience in that team of knowing how to deal with that expectation.

"I don't think that pressure will phase them, they will enjoy it and thrive in that level of competition.

"They have that quality to reach that final."

Asante, who is now a first-team coach at Bristol City, made her senior international debut in 2004 and went on to play in two World Cups and three European Championships.

The former Arsenal and Chelsea defender was a recent keynote speaker at the Women In Football Be Inspired Conference, in partnership with Barclays, and spoke on the importance of the event in growing the women's game.

"I think events like this are incredibly important and when I was younger I always wished there were more things like this to get on board with," she said.

"To see the Women in Football membership, grow into what it is today is unbelievable. It's been an unreal conference.

"My aim in my speech was to inspire lots of people within the industry and outside the industry and to hopefully get more women involved in sport and in football.

"So, I'm delighted to be here and to be sharing my story and talking.

"Ultimately I hope that women's football gets its deserved visibility on a constant basis both across the international and domestic game.

"Stakeholders need to see and understand the value that women bring and give us that platform, voice and opportunity to display so much talent both off and on the pitch."

The Women in Football Be Inspired Conference in partnership with Barclays is a unique convergence of women who are blazing a trail in the game, and their allies in the pursuit of gender equality. The event offers invaluable insights and encouragement to women pursuing careers on and off the pitch, opening access to professional networks and development resources.