World Cup hero Lucy Bronze will feature in football video game Fifa 16 – the first time women have been included in the long-running and popular series.
The all-action defender, from Alnwick, and her England team-mates will star in the franchise’s latest instalment , along with 11 other female national sides.
Until now, only men’s teams have featured on the popular EA Sports game, which was first released in 1993.
The breakthrough comes on the back of the Women’s World Cup, which was staged earlier this year in Canada. Bronze, 23, was a star performer for the history-making Lionesses, who came third – their best ever finish.
And while the Manchester City defender has already achieved a lot in her career, she admits that being turned into an animated character – allowing fans from around the world to play as her – is slightly surreal. But she believes it is a major step forward for the women’s game in real life.
She told the Gazette: “It is pretty amazing that women are going to be on the game. I used to play Fifa with my brother when I was growing up, so to actually be on the game now is really cool, although it does seem a bit odd and it will seem really strange to play as myself.”
Her character wears the number 12 jersey – as in real life – and the animated Bronze comes complete with headband. She added: “I’m really pleased with my character. I don’t think it looks too bad and it looks a lot like me, but we’ll wait and see if I’m any good on the game – fingers crossed I’m not too bad on it.”
Last month, Bronze was named in the Fifa Women’s World Cup All-Star Squad for her heroics at the tournament, which included scoring two crucial goals. She fired in a screamer against Norway in the last-16 before netting in the quarter-final win over hosts Canada.
As well as England, other women’s teams on Fifa 16 – available in a number of game modes – are World Cup winners USA, Germany, France, Sweden, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Spain, China, Italy and Mexico. The game is due to be released later this month, playable on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Android and iOS.