Tough-cookie Millie Bright has used support from family and friends to help rebuild her confidence for the new Women’s Super League One season with champions Chelsea after missing out on a medal in the European Championship.
Kilklamarsh-born Bright was the only England player to start every match as Mark Sampson’s Lionesses bowed out at the last-four stage to hosts Holland after winning their opening four games.
Playing in her first senior international tournament at the age of 23, Bright excelled alongside captain Steph Houghton in the centre of defence as England took the women’s game to a new level during the tournament.
A 3-0 semi-final defeat, in which Bright conceded an unfortunate last-minute own goal, was watched by a record TV audience in this country, averaging at 3.4million.
Bright, who started her career at Doncaster Belles, had a lot of backing from her parents and friends, who travelled to Holland to watch her in action.
One of Bright’s biggest supporters and role models, her grandfather Arthur Bramhall, kept the Chelsea defender motivated through his pre-season tournament advice.
“He has always been honest with me, whether I have had a good game or a bad game,” she said.
“He has always said to be 100 per cent. If there is ever a tackle when I have gone in half-hearted he will say, ‘Millie, you’ll get injured, and also you’ve lost your battle’.”
Bright showed throughout the Euros how she was learning — varying the ways in which she defended set pieces and counter attacks.
She also wrongly had a goal disallowed for offside in a 2-0 win over Spain.
Reflecting on the tournament, Bright, who will return to Europe in the Champions League, said: “We have shown we can play both kinds of games (expansive and defensive).”