Chelsea defender Millie Bright has described feelings of immense pride after England’s showing at the World Cup and spoke of her delight at being re-united with her Blues teammates.
The 30-year-old centre half captained the Lionesses to a second-place finish at the finals in Australia and New Zealand this summer and earlier this week, she was named among the 30 nominees for the Women’s Ballon d’Or.
Upon her return to domestic duties, Bright took time to reflect on a whirlwind World Cup experience. She discussed her excitement at being back in blue and looked ahead to a new season with enthusiasm and optimism.
With little time to reflect or digest the events of the summer, Bright had no trouble expressing an overwhelming sense of pride at what the Lionesses have achieved and says there is a desire to attend to unfinished business next time round.
‘Instant reflections are really proud. As a player, you always appreciate getting selected to go to another major tournament or if it’s your first, it’s your first. In my case, it’s my second World Cup so really honoured and proud to be given that opportunity again. To be able to go on and play the tournament that we played, face all the challenges we did on and off the pitch, and the way the team carried themselves.
‘Not only are we proud of our football and reaching the final, not every player can say they played in a World Cup final, and to medal. We fell short but to be second in the world is incredible. In that moment, it’s heartbreak. Looking back now, you look at that medal and everything that comes with it, not just on the pitch but off the pitch, and what we represent as players. We played such a vital role in making a difference in the women’s game and setting standards.
‘For us, we can look back and be proud of what we achieved in a beautiful country. The beauty of playing this sport is we get to travel so much and explore new places. To be able to tick that off the bucket list is really nice. Overall, an incredible summer and we’re hungry for more. We always come back hungry for more whether we get the gold or the silver and as a team, that is our mentality. Overall, we’re really proud, humble and ready to go again.’
After a short break, Bright has returned to Chelsea ahead of the new season hungry to represent the badge. She is feeling in good condition both mentally and physically, while possessing a desire to reach another level.
‘It’s been amazing. After tournaments, we don’t always get that much time off. I’m normally exhausted mentally and physically but with the injury I had, it was a blessing in disguise. It allowed me to have the break that I’ve probably been needing for a few years now. Coming back into Chelsea I felt really fresh mentally and physically. I felt ready to be back and that was quite a nice feeling. Playing internationally is hard, those breaks aren’t the longest, but it’s part and parcel of football.
‘I’m hungry to be back, it’s so nice to be back representing Chelsea. The first day was quite overwhelming with new players and new facilities. It’s a new chapter for us regardless of how long you’ve been here. It feels like we’ve turned the page and going to a higher level now. The new girls that have come in are really good people and amazing players. Training sessions have been really high intensity and really good quality. I’m excited to see what this Chelsea team can do this year.’