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Monday, November 29, 2021

‘Stunned’ Millie Bright named England captain for World Cup qualifiers

Chelsea centre-back Millie Bright says she was “stunned and humbled” to have been named as England’s captain for their upcoming Women’s World Cup qualifiers against Austria and Latvia.

The Lionesses host Austria at the Stadium of Light on Saturday before taking on Latvia at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium, and in the absence of injured skippers Steph Houghton and Leah Williamson, the 28-year-old former Doncaster Belles defender has been handed the armband.

“The Keepmoat is very close to my heart, it’s where the dream started for me,” Bright said. “To be going back there, leading the girls out in front of the people who were there from day one, that’s a moment that will last forever. It’s something words will never be enough for.”

England’s Dutch head coach Sarina Wiegman is yet to name her long-term captain since taking charge in September, intending to keep an open mind until she has had a chance to work with every player in contention for the role.

“This morning Sarina [Wiegman] said ‘can I take you for a chit-chat?’, which is a new phrase we’ve taught her, and she just asked me if I was happy to be the captain for this camp,” Bright added. “I was a little bit stunned at first, and very humbled.

“[While wearing the armband] I want to keep driving the standards, we’ve always got to keep pushing one another. But most importantly, I need to play my game. Wearing the armband won’t change me.”

England will be bidding to extend their winning start to life under Wiegman, who has overseen four wins from four games so far.

The game against Austria comes after two Lionesses players were shortlisted for the Fifa Best Women’s Player award; right-back Lucy Bronze and striker Ellen White are among seven Women’s Super League players dominating the 13-player global shortlist and Bright believes that shows the strength of English football.

“It is credit to Lucy and Ellen for all their work, they deserve all the awards that come their way. We’re super proud of them. It just shows how far we’ve come,” she added. “It’s really pleasing to see such high numbers coming out of the WSL.

“I do think it is the best league at the minute. I’m thankful for all the people behind the scenes who do all the hard work to keep improving the league year-in, year-out. But the journey is not over – we’re going to keep progressing and breaking boundaries.”

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