Lucy Bronze has stepped into the breach to captain England Women as the Lionesses play in the SheBelieves Cup in the United States this week.
The former Northumberland schoolgirl, who now plays her club football with Lyon in France, was asked to take on the role by new team manager Phil Neville following an injury ruled captain Steph Houghton out of the competition.
Bronze described it as ‘a great honour’ to lead her country and she was delighted with her side’s performance as they kicked off the event with a convincing 4-1 win over France on Thursday.
Neville had invited Bronze to speak to the players beforehand;
“I spoke to Lucy Bronze on the training ground because she plays in France with these players. I wanted her to say a few words, to give her thoughts, and she stood up in the dressing room and said ‘if we play well, to our potential, we will trash this lot.”
England goalscorers on the night were Toni Duggan, Jill Scott and Jodi Taylor and after the game Bronze Tweeted: “A fantastic result for the girls today.”
On Sunday the ladies followed this up with a 2-2 draw against Germany in New York, which leaves them joint top of the table with the USA, both teams on four points from their two games.
USA have beaten Germany 1-0 and drawn 1-1 with France, which means England and America will meet in a tournament decider tonight (Thursday, March 8). The game is due to kick off at 9pm UK time.
New boss Neville made five changes to his starting line-up for the match against Germany and also called on a familiar face, David Beckham, to meet the girls and deliver a pre-match pep-talk.
Neville was a team member with both Manchester United and England during his playing days and his involvement with the team was much appreciated by all concerned.
In their game against Germany England twice fell behind at 1-0 and 2-1, but came back to draw with two goals from Ellen White.
Neville was narturally disappoined not to win the game, but stressed afterewards that England had already won more points than at any previous SheBelieves Cup.
On the same day, Bronze was named amongst 55 players who received most votes in the FIFPro 2017 Women’s World XI.
The former Sunderland and Manchester City defender later Tweeted: “It’s a great honour to be named among the best.”
FIFPro will announce the 11 players who are voted into the World ‘Team of the Year’ 2017 today (March 8) to coincide with International Women’s Day.