Reshmin Chowdhury column: Millie Bright a colossus for England with star display at heart of mega comeback

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
Reshmin Chowdhury column: Millie Bright a colossus for England with star display at heart of mega comeback
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

I was scrolling through Instagram last night and a clip of Millie Bright popped up on the UEFA Women’s Euros feed. The caption just said: ‘Thou Shall Not Pass’.

It looked like that was in Millie’s head from the moment she stepped on the pitch last night because she produced her best game for England.

She’s having a brilliant tournament but last night she was a colossus. Millie did everything right, every tackle, every interception, the blocks, her awareness, she was just always there — she was even back on the line for Spain’s goal and almost kept it out!

She’s so reliable for Chelsea, the kind of player who is always one of the first names on the teamsheet, but she has stepped up a gear over the past couple of weeks and yesterday she was unreal.

England needed her to be, too. Spain played brilliantly, but, as rattled as England looked at certain stages, Millie never did — and that’s exactly what you want from your top players.

She isn’t the captain but plays like it and, as I wrote in my last column, that partnership with Leah Williamson is just so important for England. If you have two players at the back, one who’s the captain and one who’s so dependable, it gives you a chance of battling through adversity, as England did.

Since the early nerves of the opening game against Austria, the tournament had been a procession for England, and this quarter-final was the first major battle they’ve had to endure. Millie was key to overcoming that.

Her passing was crucial to relieving some of that Spanish pressure as well. It’s not really what she’s in the team for, but Millie’s range of passing, and especially those long balls, are superb. Playing out from the back is very sexy in football but Millie gives England another dimension because she can be that bit more direct. That’s her taking ownership of the situation and trying to get the team back on the front foot.

Mille spoke about it before the tournament. There’s a basic gameplan but everyone has a licence to think for themselves, so Millie can look up and see Fran Kirby or Lauren Hemp in space and decide, ‘Yeah, I can hit that pass’.

The confidence to do that comes with experience and it shows how far Millie has come. I’d have loved to have heard what Emma Hayes made of that performance because she deserves so much credit for Millie’s growth. She has been at Chelsea since 2015 and in that time they’ve become a juggernaut.

Millie is 28, in her prime, and has been around the England side for a long time. There have been some tough moments but we’re seeing a world-class player during this tournament and she’s a massive part of the reason England are still in it.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting