Already one of the true legends of the women’s game, Lucy Bronze has been a regular for England since making her debut in 2013 and has played all across the park, although she is best known as a marauding right-back, overlapping Beth Mead in the Euros to often devastating effect.
Born into a bilingual Portuguese-English family in Berwick-upon-Tweed, Bronze, now 31, played for Alnwick Town until she turned 12, when FA regulations prevented her from continuing to play for the boys’ team, a matter about which her coach felt so strongly he launched an unsuccessful discrimination case to challenge the rules, reluctant to lose his best player to an outmoded technicality.
A multi-talented athlete in secondary school, she played at youth level for Blyth Town and Sunderland, graduating to the latter’s senior squad and winning the FA Women’s Premier League Northern Division in 2008/09 before relocating to the US to enrol at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to play for the Tar Heels, a path future LionessesAlessia Russo and Lotte Wubben-Moy would later follow.
Returning to England to complete her sports science degree at Leeds Metropolitan University, playing for the institution’s women’s team while supporting herself by working at Domino’s Pizza, Bronze then commenced her senior career in earnest with Everton in 2010.
After two years, she transferred to city rivals Liverpool where she won back-to-back Women’s Super Leagues, before moving to Manchester City in 2014, where she again won the title and the FA Cup in 2016.
She then moved on to France to play for all-conquering Lyon in 2017, winning the Champions League, three successive league titles, two domestic cups and finishing second in the running for the 2019 Ballon d’Or before returning to City for further cup success.
A final switch to Barcelona alongside long-time teammate Keira Walsh followed last summer and the Catalans duly won the title and Champions League in Bronze’s debut season.
A hugely popular and respected member of the England set up with 105 caps to her name and counting, and an Instagram account for her West Highland Terrier Narla, it could all have been so different for Lucy Bronze.
As the daughter of a maths teacher, she had reportedly planned to become an accountant had football not worked out.