Inspirational World Cup star Lucy Bronze attended a special assembly in Alnwick on Monday, as part of her role as an ambassador for a ground-breaking service provided by a children’s charity.
And in an exclusive interview with the Gazette before the session, the talented defender believes England are capable of winning the 2017 UEFA Women’s Championship and spoke of her desire to win the Champions League.
The 23-year-old from Alnwick has become an ambassador for the NSPCC’s Schools Service and she took time out of her busy training schedule to visit the Duke’s Middle School to see the service in action, as part of the assembly which featured NSPCC staff and trained volunteers.
The Manchester City star said: “I’m really proud to be an ambassador for the NSPCC Schools Service. As a footballer I hoped my role in the World Cup would inspire the next generation to get involved in football, but I want to help do something to inspire children and young people off the pitch too. The NSPCC’s Schools Service encourages children to speak up if they have worries or concerns and I want to help spread this message.”
The Schools Service was set up in response to the fact that most children who contact the NSPCC’s ChildLine service about abuse are older than 11, but in many cases the abuse they are experiencing has been going on for a while.
The aim of the service is to reach out and empower these younger children to seek the help they may need. Joan McSloy, NSPCC Schools Service area coordinator for North of Tyne and Gateshead, said: “We were delighted to welcome Lucy to the assembly and we’re really pleased she’s agreed to be an ambassador to help us raise the profile of the Schools Service across the North East.”
Bronze’s footballing profile has been on the rise over the last few years, after she won the Women’s Players’ Player of the Year award in 2014, before having a stunning World Cup in the summer, which saw England finish third.
She believes that the popularity of the women’s game is increasing and feels the England national side is capable of achieving big things.
She said “I think the only way is up for the women’s game. The growth of women’s football in the past two or three years has been unbelievable. I don’t think anybody could have expected that, but I think it is going to keep exceeding expectations.
“If you look at the World Cup, we finished third and were the top European team at the competition, so if you look at the Euros, which is the next big tournament, you have to say that we can push to the final, and even win it – which I believe we can – and hopefully do the same at a World Cup.”
Manchester City are in the mix to win the FA Women’s Super League 1 this year, but with leaders Chelsea two points clear with two games remaining, the title is out of their hands. Whatever happens, Bronze believes the future is bright for City.
She said: “If we don’t win the league this time, I have no doubts that we will win it next year and Manchester City will be the biggest club in England in the near future.
“My aim is to do well for City and compete in the Champions League; I would love to say I won a Champions League medal in my career.”
○ Bronze is one of four players to withdraw from the England squad because of an injury before their Euro 2017 qualifier against Estonia.
She has a knee injury and will not feature in Tallinn on Monday.