Bronze wants achieve expectations

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Published: Saturday 6th June 2015 by The News Editor

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Lucy Bronze believes Mark Sampson’s Lionesses can inspire Roy Hodgson’s men by banishing the English tradition of underachievement on football’s biggest stages.

Manchester City defender Bronze is set for a key World Cup role with England Women at the tournament in Canada, and possesses a fiery determination to succeed with her country.

“We want to change the way people think about England teams,” Bronze said.

“At the men’s tournaments we haven’t exceeded expectations, the same with the women, and we want to change that.

“And hopefully if we can change that it can change for other people, like the kids growing up and even for the men’s team, it could have a knock-on effect.

“Being English it comes with the territory that there’s a lot of pressure to do well because of what we have as a nation.

“Sometimes we don’t live up to the expectations that get put on our shoulders.

“It’s important for us to have self-belief because we’re a top 10 nation so we should be doing well. I feel we do have that at the minute.”

England start on Tuesday with a tricky assignment against a France team who stand a strong chance of lifting the trophy in Vancouver.

The tournament was swinging into action on Saturday, as the hosts, fresh from beating England in a friendly last week, began their campaign against China.

Bronze is a likeable and lively character, full of stories and keen to share.

She was raised on the tidal island of Lindisfarne, connected by a causeway to Northumberland and home to under 200 people, where her grandad was a fisherman and great aunt was caretaker for the magnificent castle.

Father Joaquim is Portuguese, and she was approached to play for Portugal when in her mid-teens, turning it down in the hope England would come calling.

She was not born on Lindisfarne but in nearby Berwick, purely because mother Diane feared she would be stranded by the tide when the time came.

“The midwives said to my mum, ‘Can you please stay on the island because we’ve never been in a helicopter before’,” said Bronze, “and my mum was like, ‘There’s no way I’m giving birth on an island or in a helicopter’.”

Young Lucy, already keen on football, had little choice but to join in with any youngsters that had a ball. A girls’ team was never a realistic prospect in such a small community, so brother Jorge lent a helping hand in making sure she fitted in with his friends.

“There weren’t even many kids there, let alone girls. I never looked at myself as being the only girl on the team: I was a little boy when I was younger, my brother cut all my hair off,” Bronze said.

“I did everything with my brother and I’d do anything he said.

“My mum wouldn’t cut my hair but my brother said he’d cut it. He was six and I was four. I had to go to the hairdressers afterwards to get short back and sides – I looked like his little brother.

“People think it must have been hard growing up playing in a boys’ team, and I always say ‘not really’, because I looked like a boy anyway so I fitted in perfectly. It was never an issue for me.”

Family is hugely important to Bronze, but like many in England’s squad she is likely to be supported from afar by her parents and siblings.

The cost is prohibitive to some; others must work.

“My mum’s devastated. She’s a teacher so she’ll have to be in school,” said Bronze.

“But if we make it to the final, I think she’ll have to fob off work, run away from school. She’ll be ill on July 5.”

Published: Saturday 6th June 2015 by The News Editor

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