England's Lucy Bronze against Australia. (El Loko, Wikimedia Commons)
England's Lucy Bronze against Australia. (El Loko, Wikimedia Commons)

Lucy Bronze Looks Forward to Euro 2022 and Discusses Barcelona Switch

To come from there where I didn’t feel like I was on the right path to what was considered the normal way to success through the England route and being the player that was picked to make it to the top and then to make it the top, it makes everything I’ve done even more special.Lucy Bronze


Lucy Bronze has played with and against the top players in world football, so she knows better than anyone what it will be like to face Vivianne Miedema, Lieke Martens and company on Friday night when England face a rematch of the Euro 2017 semifinal at Leeds United’s Elland Road.

It will be the first time the sides have met in those five subsequent years, with England looking to do better than the 0–3 defeat that ended their chances to win a first major tournament in Enschede after Arsenal’s Miedema opening the scoring.

“They’re the games I like to think players look forward to,” said Bronze, who agreed to join FC Barcelona last week. “I want to play against the best players in the world and Vivianne Miedema is obviously one of the best strikers in the world. They’ll get the beating of you a couple of times, but you have to stay on your game.”

Bronze is also well placed to analyze a striker who for some time England would have wondered if they’d be facing when they were drawn against another familiar foe in Norway, her former Lyon teammate Ada Hegerberg.

After a prolonged absence from the national team, 26-year-old Hegerberg announced earlier this year she would return to the Norway team and has been in fine form for club and country since returning from a nearly two-year injury-induced time away from the pitch.

“Ada is just a winner, the girl is crazy in that respect,” said former teammate Bronze. “I can remember games where she’d come up to me beforehand and say, ‘You just get the ball in the box and I’ll score.’

“She’s obsessed with scoring, she’s obsessed with wanting to win the ball. There’s not many number nines who can score goals and then will get back and make tackles and put their body on the line. She’s so tall, she’s got pace and strength, fitness. I think the thing that separates her for me is that crazy mentality that she’s got herself, it’s something you can’t really affect. You can’t really get in her head — I might try!”


Bronze, however, is keen to focus on some of the star players in the England squad, as the Lionesses go into a tournament somewhat in the midst of a transition and the beginning of a new era.

Under head coach and defending champion Sarina Wiegman, nine players are heading to their first major tournament with England, albeit several were involved in the Team GB Olympic squad 12 months ago.

Bronze is heading to her third European Championships, nine years on from her first, and is excited about the likes of Lauren Hemp and Chloe Kelly, her former Manchester City teammates who she knows only too well.

“All four of our wingers are so different, they’re all quick which is always fantastic to go up against. Hempo is probably the fastest. When I’m playing against Hempo, I just want to stay fully focused, don’t let her beat me. We have a little wind-up every day. I told her today that I’ve got more assists than her in training so she needs to start stepping it up!

“Chloe has got a little bit of skill to her game, a very good crosser. Nikita’s movement is easily the best on the team. The girl is there one minute and the next minute she’s over here. She’s in front, she’s in behind, so you’ve constantly got to keep looking. Meado has just got that end product of good cross, good pace. All four of them have something where I’ve got to keep on my toes. I love it, me and Demi talk about it all the time, it helps us improve as players having all these exceptional players to go up against and to push them as they push us.”

This will be Bronze’s sixth senior tournament overall, having been to two World Cups and an Olympic Games on top of what will be her third Euros after 2013 and 2017, and at 30 admitted it’s a very different experience to the first time around almost a decade ago.

“It’s so different. Me and Jordan [Nobbs] were the two babies of the team, we didn’t really speak. A funny story is we got sent some Nike boots, hardly any of the players were sponsored so no one had any boots to go, which is funny because I’ve been outside with all the kids from the grassroots clubs and they were asking for boots.

“I just gave them to them because I can get boots whenever I want now. But we got sent these boots from Nike, all we did was give our size and they actually came up a little bit too small on us. Me and Jordan didn’t dare ask for a different pair so we wore boots the whole time that were too small for us. We’d get in trouble if we even thought about doing that now. It makes me laugh because now we have the guy from Nike come in and he measures your feet and makes sure they fit like a glove. That first Euros it was like, ‘You get what you’re given girls and you crack on’ — and we did!”

Bronze has now taken on a more senior role for the newer babies of the squad, with the likes of Hemp and Kelly joined by talents such as Lotte Wubben-Moy, Ellie Roebuck, Ella Toone and more.

“A lot of us, like myself and Jill, have shared a lot of experiences with them,” Bronze admitted. “Telling them stories of previous competitions, although I feel like this one is going to be bigger than anything we have experienced.

“At the end of the day, there’s only so many stories you can tell. Until you go through an experience yourself, I feel like you’re never going to learn. I had that same thing, it was going through something that helped you, maybe more so in the moment, during the tournament where we might need that little extra help and extra boost from someone like myself or Jill.”

England's Lucy Bronze on the move. (Manette Gonzales / OGM)
England’s Lucy Bronze on the move. (Manette Gonzales / OGM)

When Sarina Wiegman told the 28 players one by one who was or wasn’t going to be involved in their home Euros last Wednesday, it’s unlikely Bronze was one of a few who were too worried about their potential involvement given how key she has been to England’s rise over the past seven years.

When asked about her feelings toward whether she was relaxed about being selected, the full back admitted she got more pride out of seeing Chloe Kelly being selected after the winger fought back from an ACL injury to be picked for her first major tournament.

“The first tournament I went to I wasn’t expecting to be picked, so that was a surprise and I wasn’t nervous. At the next tournament, I was fully in the team and expecting to get picked; I’ve not had that in between bit where you’re like, ‘Am I going to go or am I not?’

“But seeing the girls whose first tournament it was, it was really sweet to see the nerves and how anxious they were. I was like, ‘Girls, I can tell you’re getting picked. You’re good, you’re going!’ But for me, seeing Chloe afterwards, that was probably the big one just because the pair of us have spent a lot of time in the gym together this year.

Bronze added: “For her to push on after playing only a couple of games at the end of the season and bring out some fantastic performances, been brilliant in training. Even if you’ve lived that moment yourself, seeing other people go through it consistently is amazing, it gives you a good feeling to see someone like that who has worked hard and get what they deserve.”

FC Barcelona

Whatever happens in the Euros, Bronze will embark on another new challenge post-tournament when she joins European giants FC Barcelona, a dominant domestic outfit and a side that has been in the last two Champions League finals.

It will be the first time Bronze has played in Spain, following in the footsteps of former City and England teammate Toni Duggan, and the defender admitted it was nice to have it announced and out of the way before the tournament gets under way.

“Yeah, definitely. It was pretty much done the week after the end of the season, I just had to find the time to sort it all out. It was hard keeping my mouth shut because it was obviously so exciting.

“The one thing I said to Barca and my agent was that I want it done before the tournament. Get it done, get it out of the way, I wanted to be able to focus on England, I didn’t want questions about what club you’re going to next and all the talk and the gossip around that.”

Bronze also admitted knowing one of the best teams in Europe being interested gave her a confidence boost toward the end of the season, and it wasn’t just the Spanish champions who were interested either.

The former Lyon full back said her former club also came calling and going back to France could have been a possibility.

“I had offers from Lyon and Barca, the two best teams in the world,” she reflected. “It wasn’t bad to be able to pick from that and make my decision. It gives me loads of confidence as a player knowing these big teams who are so successful want to sign me, want me to play, know that I can make a difference to their team.

“After the signing on Saturday, Alexia [Putellas] texted me saying she’s excited to play with me on the team. Things like that give you huge confidence when players want to play with you and teams want you. Who doesn’t like being told they’re good? It gives you confidence and confidence plays a huge role in how you perform on the pitch.”

Bronze also said she “wanted to play abroad again” and admitted Lyon was the “best of time in my career,” but it was about pushing herself into a different culture and a different experience that led her to choosing Barcelona.


But first and foremost, she has unfinished business after being part of an England side that has fallen in major tournaments at the semifinal stage in three successive competitions, including Euro 2017 against Friday’s opponents.

Bronze has plenty of experience when it comes to winning major trophies at the domestic level, while Wiegman has her hands on one European title and a silver medal at the 2019 World Cup, and Bronze believes that experience will be “second to none” for the Lionesses.

“Sarina has that experience of winning as well. You go back to club football, the Champions League final between Lyon and Barca — everyone picked Barca, but it was Lyon with [Amandine] Henry who has got that mentality to just pick up the game and go for it. Winning is a priceless experience and myself and Sarina both have that in heaps and bounds.”

For Bronze on a personal level, a sixth major tournament in a special achievement for a player who never believed she would play for England when she was a child.

It was legendary U.S. college coach Anson Dorrance who provided the inspiration, with Bronze years later heading to the University of North Carolina to play under Dorrance before her career back in England and the national team was launched into the stardom she enjoys today.

“It’s pretty crazy,” she laughed.  “I was telling this story before. I was 12 years old and Anson said, ‘When you’re old enough, we want you to play for UNC, you’re going to be such a good player,’ and he even wrote to a couple of people in England and told them about me.

“It kind of fell on deaf ears a bit, no one really got back to him, they might potentially be regretting that now. To come from there where I didn’t feel like I was on the right path to what was considered the normal way to success through the England route and being the player that was picked to make it to the top and then to make it the top, it makes everything I’ve done even more special. It makes my family even more proud and I can pat myself on the back a little bit harder for it.”