England international Millie Bright has extended her Chelsea Women contract, committing her to the club until 2021.
Bright is already well-established as one of the key players in Emma Hayes’ squad, having won the WSL title three times, including the 2017 Spring Series version of the competition, and the Women’s FA Cup twice. Last season, when the Double was claimed, she started more games in all competitions than any other player as the Blues boasted the most miserly defence in the English top flight, conceding only 13 goals.
She scored a vital one of her own in our draw away against title-rivals Manchester City, rattling in an absolute screamer. Her form was recognised outside of Chelsea as she was nominated for the PFA Women’s Player of the Year award and named in the Team of the Year.
After putting pen to paper on her new Chelsea deal, Bright said:
'It was an easy decision to sign a new contract here and there’s no other club I’d want to be part of. We've got such a good group of girls here, it really is like a family, and Emma Hayes gets absolutely everything out of all her players. It’s such an ambitious club and no matter the success, Emma has always wanted us to develop as players and to go on and win medals. There’s no better place for me to be.
'I've improved so much in my time here and I think that has been shown in my performances, as well as becoming part of the England set-up and playing regularly for my country. But I still think there’s a lot more to come.
'I just want to be a successful player and to help my team-mates and this football club win more trophies. We've already won a few in my time here and hopefully we can continue that and keep winning things, and I hope the Champions League is one of those trophies. We made a big statement in the competition last season and we're ready to keep developing and take the next step.'
Bright, who celebrated her 25th birthday yesterday, joined Chelsea from Doncaster Rovers Belles in 2014 and has played in midfield for the Blues but recently she has most often been in defence, a position where she has become a fixture for England’s Lionesses since joining Chelsea. Her first cap came in the autumn of 2016 and two months later she was named England Young Player of the Year. At the 2017 Euros and she started every game in the Lionesses’ run to the semi-finals.
Manager Hayes is naturally delighted to have secured the service of such an important player for the next three years.
'Millie's new contract is just reward for someone who displays all the key attributes that we want from players at this football club and I'm so pleased she's committed her future to Chelsea,’ she said.
'Since she joined us from Doncaster ahead of the 2015 season there has been an improvement in her performances year on year, which have seen her become a key player for both club and country. You can see all of her hard work bearing fruit and defensively she is becoming one of the best in the world – and make no mistake about it, she can become the very best.
'She’s got presence, leadership and once she improves her ability on the ball and decision-making in possession, and that’s something she is working very hard at, that will be the final component for her game.
'Few players have a work ethic and resilience to match Millie. The more competition you put in her way, the better she gets – and we’ve got a wealth of quality central defenders at our club.
'As long as she stays on this path and keeps her feet on the ground, which I have no doubt about because she’s so humble and from a good family, she can achieve anything she wants in the game.'
- There will be an interview with Millie Bright on this website tomorrow.