Derbyshire’s Lionesses star Millie Bright inspiring next generation of women’s footballers, says former teacher

TOPSHOT - Norway's forward Lisa Utland (L) vies with England's defender Millie Bright during the France 2019 Women's World Cup quarter-final football match between Norway and England, on June 27, 2019, at the Oceane stadium in Le Havre, north western France. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Norway's forward Lisa Utland (L) vies with England's defender Millie Bright during the France 2019 Women's World Cup quarter-final football match between Norway and England, on June 27, 2019, at the Oceane stadium in Le Havre, north western France. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP) (Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)

A former school teacher of Lionesses star Millie Bright has told how the tough-tackling defender is inspiring the next generation of women’s footballers.

Bright, who hails from Killamarsh in Derbyshire, has been part of the England side to reach the last four of the France 2019 Women’s World Cup.

Proud staff at her former junior school have revealed how much of a role model she is to the current crop of pupils and future female footballers.

Teacher Angela Davis, who taught Millie when she was in Year 4 at Killamarsh Junior School, has been following her former pupil’s progress at this summer’s tournament.

She said: “I’ve been watching all the games. She got knocked down in the first game but she’s bounced back. She’s very determined.”

That determination is something which Miss Davis saw in her from a young age - as well as a burning enthusiasm for the sport.

“She was really enthusiastic as a pupil,” Miss Davis said. “She really loved her football and was constantly playing football.

“At the time there were no other girls who played football but now all the boys and girls play football together. It’s all about enjoyment and taking part.

“She’s a role model for so many young pupils and we’ve had lots of girls come through who are really good at football.”

Her progress from Killamarsh Dynamos, through Sheffield United’s Centre of Excellence to Doncaster Belles, Chelsea Women and England is on display in the school.

“We have used her success to spearhead celebrations of past pupils in the school,” said Miss Davis.

“We did a display on her and following that I put out an appeal to past pupils to let us know what they are up to.

“We now have displays of lots of past pupils who have all gone on to achieve lots of different things.

“The children are always reading the display and seeing what other people have been up to.”

Bright’s mum, Nicola, is a teaching assistant at the school where she is a frequent visitor.

“She’s had quite a lot of contact over the years,” said Miss Davis.

“She’s come back often. She’s done a few football sessions with classes.”

And added: “Her mum is really proud and we all share that pride.

“I think she’s part of a team which is raising the profile of women’s football.

“Yes, they want to win the World Cup, but they are breaking new ground for so many others.

“The numbers of people watching has improved a lot with this World Cup.

“People are a lot more interested and I think it’s only going to get bigger.”