With the Lionesses’ Euro 2022-winning captain Leah Williamson forced to miss out on the World Cup through injury, coach Sarina Wiegman has entrusted the responsibility for leading the team to experienced Chelsea centre back Millie Bright.
Bright has been passed fit for England’s match against Haiti after recovering from knee surgery and the defender will lead the Lionesses in their Group D opener.
Now 29, Bright grew up in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, overcoming infant pneumonia and asthma to enjoy a career as a top level athlete, although her first love was equestrianism, not football.
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Showing early promise when she did take to the field aged nine, she was soon scouted playing for Killamarsh Dynamos by Sheffield United and joined their academy before moving to Doncaster Rovers Belles aged 16 in 2009.
Making her debut that same year and scoring on her first start, Bright spent a year on loan at Leeds Ladies before establishing herself at Doncaster, where she played with future Lionesses Mary Earps and Bethany England.
In December 2014, she signed for Chelsea and has remained with the West London club ever since, picking up four Barclays Women’s Super League titles, three FA Women’s Cups and reaching the UEFA Champions League Final, scoring 14 times across 218 appearances.
For England, she was an essential part of the side that reached the semi-finals of the last FIFA World Cup in France in 2019 and of last summer’s triumphant Euros team.
She has represented her country, to date, 66 times and scored five international goals, striking up solid defensive partnerships with Williamson and Houghton during that time and posing a significant aerial threat from set plays.