Far East trip is a vital experience says ace Lucy Bronze

Monday 26 Oct 2015
Lucy Bronze has scored four goals in 24 caps
Lucy Bronze believes England’s trip to China will stand them in good stead for future tournaments.

Mark Sampson’s side are in Chongqing for matches against the host nation and Australia, the World Cup quarter finalists.

Bronze played 65 minutes as the Lionesses lost 2-1 to China on Friday. They take on the Matildas on Tuesday – the day before the defender's 24th birthday.

And the Manchester City full-back reckons her team-mates will benefit from playing against two non-European nations in hot and humid conditions.

England v Australia

Women's international
Dewellbon Cup
8am, Tuesday 27 October 2015
Yongchuan, China

She said: “We are used to playing against European teams and the European style of play, a very organised style of play.

“But with Australia you get such a different intensity, similar to what you would get from the Americans and the Canadians. They just want to run you into the ground.

“They go hell for leather and don’t give you much time on the ball. That’s something we need to get used to playing against if we want to beat the top teams regularly and ultimately win tournaments.

“There aren’t many European teams that can match Australia for high intensity so if we can match up against one of the best in the world at doing that, what’s to say we can’t take that into games against European teams?”

Bronze continued: “We may have lost to China but I think we can learn an awful lot from that game. We tried a different formation and a few new players and we were obviously still adapting to the time difference and the humidity.

“But as professional athletes we know we have to deal with that so it’s not an excuse. On the day we just didn’t get things right, but the first half was a big learning curve for us.”

Bronze was named in the FIFA All-Star squad after her performances at the World Cup.

She scored the winner against Norway in the last-16 and in the quarter final victory over host nation Canada, and played in midfield to nullify the threat of pacy French winger Elodie Thomis in the opening group game before starring in her more familiar role at right-back.

But, despite England’s historic third-place finish, Bronze knows the Lionesses need to keep on evolving.

'There’s an expectation on me to play well every game now'

Lucy Bronze

She said: “We know we can’t carry on forever with the same squad that went to the World Cup.

“We can’t rest on our laurels and think that other countries won’t catch up with us.

“That’s what we did – we caught up with the nations above us in the rankings and now we need to push on even more, because other teams will do that to us.

“That’s why it’s important to come to places like this and take us out of our comfort zone and still ask us to put in a performance. That’s what tournament football is all about.”

Meanwhile, Bronze admits to not feeling worthy of a place in the All-Star squad.

She added: “I actually don’t think I was one of the best players in Canada. I didn’t go into the tournament in the best possible shape because of my knee injury.

“I’m only 23. I’m not at the top of my game yet so I don’t think I deserve to be up there yet. I feel like I still have to work for it.

“If I am picked in four years’ time I need to be going into the World Cup in the best shape possible.

“There’s an expectation on me to play well every game now. I always had that pressure from a personal level, but now I’ve got other people’s expectations to live up to. Other players will know who I am now and they will want to come out on top against me.

“That’s the way I go into games. I always want to be better than my opponent, so now other players are going to want to do the same against me. Probably more so now than before.

“I have to be ready for that and I need to keep on improving my own game.”

The Lionesses’ next home match is a Euro 2017 qualifier against Bosnia & Herzegovina at Bristol City FC on Sunday 29 November (3.30pm kick-off).

Tickets are on sale now priced £5 for adults and £2.50 for children. A family ticket (two adults and two children) is available at £10 and group booking discounts apply.

Tickets can be purchased via TheFA.com/Tickets or by calling 01179 630 600.

By Glenn Lavery in China