Millie Bright says England strength ‘ridiculous’ as build-up continues for Euros

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Vice-captain Millie Bright says England boss Sarina Wiegman has a “ridiculous” group of players to choose from and that the competitiveness among them is helping the team reach “new levels”.

The Lionesses have this week begun the first phase of their preparations for this summer’s home European Championship, training at St George’s Park after Wiegman named a provisional 28-player squad.

That is set to be brought down to a final 23 next week ahead of a trio of warm-up matches against Belgium, Holland and Switzerland, with England then playing Austria at Old Trafford on July 6 to open the tournament.

England boss Sarina Wiegman with her players at St George's Park (Bradley Collyer/PA).
England boss Sarina Wiegman with her players at St George’s Park (Bradley Collyer/PA)

They head into those fixtures having gone unbeaten in 11 games so far under Wiegman, during which there have been nine victories, 72 goals scored, two conceded, and they won the Arnold Clark Cup.

Defender Bright said: “It is exciting. The talent that this group has is incredible and the pool of players that can be picked from is ridiculous.

“There are some special players in our group and unbelievable people. It is really raising the levels of our team.”

A year ago England were coming to an end of a spell under interim boss Hege Riise – who would subsequently oversee the Great Britain side at the Tokyo Olympics – having played three friendlies during the Norwegian’s tenure, beating Northern Ireland and then losing to France and Canada.

Asked if she thought England were in a better place now, Bright said: “100 per cent. I think we have gone to new levels, and there are still levels to come from us.

“That’s the beauty of the squad – we’re all just trying to get the best out of each other day in, day out, and keep pushing our levels and testing one another.

“There’s so much competitiveness in training, people fighting for positions, and that’s what gets the best out of one another. So I know for a fact that we will push each other to new levels (again).”

England, Euros runners-up in 2009 and 1984, are aiming for a first triumph at a major tournament after being beaten semi-finalists in each of the last three.

“It would be extremely special, but I think we don’t look too far ahead,” said Bright, who hopes to add Euros glory after a 2021-22 season in which she won the Women’s Super League and FA Cup double with Chelsea.

“We have to get the prep camps done first and get the work put in on the pitch, make sure we are in a good place leading into the tournament. Then it’s what we go and do at the tournament, which we will give absolutely everything. We’ll be ready come the first game.”

The centre-back’s Chelsea team-mate Fran Kirby is a player that has been included in Wiegman’s 28 while working her way back to fitness, having not played a match since February due to a fatigue-related issue.

Bright said of the forward: “Fran is special. To have her back in the squad is incredible.

“I think she’s been working really hard to get back in and kind of put no pressure on herself really for this summer. I’m really happy to see her back in and around the girls, and she’ll just take it in her own time and get back to full fitness.”

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