The Game Changers

Lucy Bronze: Overcoming obstacles to become the best in the world

August 01, 2023 Sue Anstiss Season 14
The Game Changers
Lucy Bronze: Overcoming obstacles to become the best in the world
Show Notes Transcript

To celebrate the Football World Cup, we’re re-releasing episodes of The Game Changers podcast with incredible trailblazing women in football.

Today it’s one of the world's leading female professional players, Lucy Bronze.

The UEFA Women’s Player of the Year in 2019 was also named The Best FIFA Women's Player in 2020 and won the Euros with the Lionesses in 2022.

Having played in the US, and at several British clubs including Man City, Lucy went on to spend 3 years in France at Olympique Lyonnais, Europe's most successful team, before returning to Man City in 2020. Lucy now plays for FC Barcelona.

We're loving watching the contribution Lucy is making for England right now.

Thank you to Sport England who support The Game Changers Podcast with a National Lottery award.

Find out more about The Game Changers podcast here: https://www.fearlesswomen.co.uk/thegamechangers

Hosted by Sue Anstiss
Produced by Sam Walker, What Goes On Media

A Fearless Women production

Lucy Bronze: Overcoming obstacles to become the best in the world
Lucy Bronze  (0s):

I grew up in quite a rural part of the Northeast of England. Pretty much Scotland. Yeah. I just started playing football because my big brother played football, like a lot of other little boys in the country. And my mom and dad actually were never into football. My dad still doesn't really like football, although, he liked to come and watch me play. They wouldn't really watch football on regular basis. Yeah. The good upbringing, just kicking around in fields and at school, playing football with my friends, the only girl for miles and miles that played football in those ends. But yeah. I enjoyed myself and that was kind of how I made my friends, was through sport.

 

Lucy Bronze  (41s):

And especially through football.

 

Sue Anstiss (43s):

So when did you first meet other girls that were playing football, that you were able to play football with?

 

Lucy Bronze  (47s):

Well, I moved slightly South at the age of about 10/11. And funny enough, I moved on to a brand new estate and six houses down from me, our gardens kind of looked on each other, but it was Lucy Staniforth, who also played [inaudible] as well. That was, yeah, that was literally the first ever girl I ever met, who also played football, happened to be pretty good as well. And we joined the same school at the same time. Cause we moved at this brand new estate in a new town, where neither of us were from. And yeah, we used to kick around, playing football together, every single day. Together we used to have to travel about 45, an hour, an hour and a half, give or take, to train in Sunderland or in Blyth.

 

Lucy Bronze  (1m 31s):

Cause that was literally the closest girl's team to where we lived.

 

Sue Anstiss (1m 35s):

And lots of people might not know that you were also, I believe, a county standard tennis player and your national [inaudible] in pentathlon and cross country. So why did you choose football as your path, when perhaps you might've played other sports too?

 

Lucy Bronze  (1m 46s):

Yeah, I think my mom was very keen for the tennis. She wanted the little girl, with the frilly white skirt on, and the nice white socks. And I think she pictured me playing in Wimbledon or something. So I used to play with [inaudible] a lot. We had tennis lessons. And I just, I never really liked playing on my own. I did play mixed doubles with my brother a lot. I had another partner for girls' doubles, but I just didn't like it. And obviously I'm quite rough and tough as well. I liked playing football, just being with the boys that I was friends with at school. I wasn't the most sociable child. So sport was a way of making friends. So playing team sport was definitely better for me.

 

Lucy Bronze  (2m 27s):

I enjoyed athletics and cross country, but it was just because I was good at them. But I think I was only good at them because I was good at football, and running around playing football.

 

Sue Anstiss (2m 36s):

A great fit. Yeah. And you've mentioned that kind of long travel across to play at Sunderland. So did you play within the Center of Excellence there?

 

Lucy Bronze  (2m 46s):

When I was 11/12, that was when you couldn't play with boys anymore. My mom had a mad panic to find a girls team, because she didn't know much about football. And then she didn't realize that that was even a rule. Although it made her very, very angry and that's an understatement. So she's just kind of, just Googled it. It was Newcastle and Sunderland that came up. I went for trials at both. Sunderland was the better one, kind of historically has been in women's football. Joined that. It was a bit too much for me when I was 12 years old - it was an hour and a half each way.

 

Sue Anstiss (3m 14s):

Wow.

 

Lucy Bronze  (3m 15s):

So yeah, I did it for a year and then found a girls team that was a little bit closer, that was a good level, but it wasn't an academy team. And then yeah, played there for a few years and then people were talking about, "Oh, you could play for England." Which again, I didn't know it was a thing when I was younger. But they were like, you have to play for Academy. So back to Sunderland I went, when I was maybe about 14/15, and just stayed there until getting into the England team, getting into the seniors, the full senior team at Sunderland as well. Yeah. But Sunderland was kind of where it started.

 

Sue Anstiss (3m 46s):

And what was your average training week like in those days?

 

Lucy Bronze  (3m 50s):

When I was 12, we used to go every Monday. It was one training session and then yeah, games or tournament on the weekend. Then when I was at Blyth, it was Tuesday and a Saturday, a game on a Sunday or something like that. Like I said, I was so lucky that I had Lucy Staniforth, cause we used to just go to, the fields were literally just down the road from us. So we used to hop the fence, run down this cow field, to the football field and we used to just lever the ball as hard as possible, each of us, across the pitch, try and hit the crossbar. We used to go doing running together. Just doing everything possible to just keep fit and wanting to challenge each other. But yeah, as training went, it was kind of limited, obviously travel was a big factor for playing in a girl's team, for many of the players.

 

Lucy Bronze  (4m 35s):

So you kind of had a lot of training days, which would just be kicking about in your garden or with your friends at school.

 

Sue Anstiss (4m 40s):

It seems, I guess unfair, really. You think about a young man with your talent, how they would have been treated at that time. And obviously your mom, you said your mum got very angry about it too, but did you feel it was very unfair at the time...? [Inaudible]

 

Lucy Bronze  (4m 52s):

Yeah. I think when you, when you're that age, you know, you don't think about those things. People always ask me that and they say, how did it feel being the only girl in the boys team? Because no one else made a point of it in my team. I never realized it was a thing, but obviously, it's only when someone points it out that then it becomes an issue. But when I was younger, no one cared because I was good. So first of all, I was good. So as long as you are good, no one cares if you, whatever. You good, so you can play and we will win. So it wasn't really a factor. But I think for me it was like I said, again, I struggled to make friends when I was younger. It's funny because Demi Stokes was at Sunderland, when I first joined, when I was 12 and she was like, I don't think you said a word.

 

Lucy Bronze  (5m 34s):

The whole year you were there, you didn't say a word. Like I don't think we ever spoke, which is funny, cause we're like best friends now. But I was literally the shyest child ever in new environments. I didn't know how to go up and speak to people. I liked being around the boys. My brother being rough and tough. And then I was put in a situation with an all-girls team. And that was the thing that felt weird to me. Whereas everyone is like, oh, how weird was it playing with the boys? I'm like, no, it was weird playing with the girls. Like that was a thing like, Oh, you have to play on a girl's team. And I was like, what, why? Girls play football? Like, is it a big deal? And then I think that was when it went in my head that it was an issue or that there was something that made me maybe a little bit more anxious.

 

Sue Anstiss (6m 14s):

Yeah, it's interesting, isn't it? And you, sadly had a few injuries in your career growing up. So can you tell us a little bit about that? And you had some issues with your knees as well in terms of injuries.

 

Lucy Bronze  (6m 25s):

Yeah. It's crazy because people are, "Oh, you had so many knee injuries." But there was just one incident that happened, that then just was a knock-on effect for everything else, that I've now had to deal with, in my career. And now I'm one of them players that is labeled as a knee injured player in your career. But it was when I was, I think it must have been 17, I literally just banged my knee, on the floor, and I had a problem. A lot of stuff happened because of it. It got infected. And I had surgery. And I was in the England squad, in England, they were like, "Oh, we're not going to pick you for the next thing. That's in the summer." Even though this was maybe, March and in the summer, it would be, it was like the Euro finals and [inaudible], but you've [inaudible].

 

Lucy Bronze  (7m 9s):

Still it's like the pinnacle of your career at that point because you've not had a career. So they're like, yeah, we're not going to pick you. And I was like, "What?" Like this is three months away. I'm sat in hospital bed. Not because of any of my wrongdoing, just an unfortunate run of events. So then me being me, I went to the same field that I used to go with Lucy Staniforth, every single day with my dog. I used to go running around, kicking footballs every single day to get fit and fit. Obviously, I got fit. I went to these things, but as a knock on effect, it basically turned out that my other knee had been affected, because I hadn't been doing proper rehab, because no one had been looking after me. Which again, like you said, if I was a boy, in that position, going in an operation and coming out of it, I probably would have had that support.

 

Lucy Bronze  (7m 54s):

With a girl at 17 years old, I had zero like no physio, no medical attention. I'd been in hospital for a week, come out. And it was like, we're not going to pick you. You're on your own. So, but I've got that mentality that no one can kind of tell me no. Worked hard, got in that place but completely messed up my other knee, which then I've had to manage my entire career because of, because I worked so hard to get back. But being 17/18 obviously, I did it in the wrong way. And it's crazy that something, as simple as that, has kind of set the course of four knee surgeries, being out for two and a half years because of these surgeries, which could have easily been fixed, had I had that support initially.

 

Sue Anstiss (8m 41s):

Yeah. My oldest daughter actually had an ACL injury at the start of her rugby career. That was actually the day before she was about to start the Wasps, Center Of Excellence. So I know how much it affected her mental health for that period afterwards. So how did you kind of get over that as a young woman? I'm sure it must've been a really, a challenging time.

 

Lucy Bronze  (9m 0s):

For me, it was really challenging because I felt like I didn't have that support from the teams or the clubs or the coaches that were around me. But was very fortunate to have a family that supported me very well. Not financially, particularly, not that we were a very rich family or anything, but yeah, they were always there for me in a mental kind of stay, always supported me. My mom's done that through my entire career, regardless of the fact that she wanted me to play tennis, but it was a very trying time. And for me, when it was probably quite similar, you know, 18/19, you are kicking off in the senior football, the senior side of sport. At that age, a lot of my friends were starting to get picked for the England team, like the senior England team.

 

Lucy Bronze  (9m 43s):

They were playing for the first team. They were playing in the FA cup finals and all this. And I was sitting at home, in bed, in crutches. But I always try to look at it in the fact that those two years I spent injured, I constantly felt like I was two years behind everyone. And I've had that mindset my entire career, even though that was nine years ago. Everything I'm doing, I'm like, I'm two years behind, I'm two years behind, trying to catch these people up. And actually what I ended up doing was overtaking them, because I was focused so hard on thinking that I was always behind. So I always just try and look at it, at that point of view, that it was so bad that that happened, but I turned that into such a big motivation to be where I am now. And people say, well, maybe if you didn't have such bad knee injuries, like, imagine what you could have done?

 

Lucy Bronze  (10m 27s):

Sometimes I think like that. And then sometimes I think, I might have done worse. I've had that mental capacity.

 

Sue Anstiss (10m 34s):

That drive. You do hear that a lot. And Kelly Smith, you know, others have said the same thing, almost. Adversity then drives you on for your fitness. I guess, moving onto the many positive things and your progress for England, what are your memories of your first cup for England? Can you take yourself back there?

 

Lucy Bronze  (10m 51s):

I actually remember my first cup so well, because it was such a big game because Rachel Yankey was making the record appearances. So she was starting that game. So everyone is around Rachel Yankey. It was a preparation. It was the last camp before the Euros. I had just been called in, off a whim, because a bunch of people had been injured. And we were playing Japan, who would previously, quite recently just won the world cup. So I didn't really have any expectations. And Hope Powell was the manager as well, which is funny, because she's known for being just quite hard on players and quite a stickler, which I quite liked.

 

Lucy Bronze  (11m 31s):

But I remember the first cup, she pulled me off and she stood next to me. And she's not known for being super nice and cuddly. And she turned to me and was like, "You just go out and enjoy yourself." And I was like, "Oh! Hope Powell has said that to me." Like it was just a huge relief off me. I came in at right-back. I actually scored, but it got disallowed for offside, because somebody else is offside, which I think probably would have been the winning goal as well, which was disappointing. But it was a friendly and I just made my first cup. So I was just kind of excited by the whole experience of it. But yeah, it was very memorable because there was so many things going on.

 

Lucy Bronze  (12m 12s):

But definitely again, I remember very well, even though it was, like maybe, I only played about 25 minutes.

 

Sue Anstiss (12m 18s):

And you moved on then. You went off to University of North Carolina. So why did you make that decision at the time to move across to the States?

 

Lucy Bronze  (12m 27s):

Google. My mom had Googled, when I was 12, the best places for girls to play football. And when we were looking at Sunderland, it also came up about America being this amazing place for women's soccer. And she looked into it and she took me there on a holiday with my brother and a friend. Went to like a soccer camp. Anson Dorrance, who's like this superstar in women's soccer, in America, spotted me at the age of 12 and said, "You come back when you're 17/18.

 

Sue Anstiss (12m 54s):

Wow!

 

Lucy Bronze  (12m 55s):

And he [inaudible], which is funny, because in the younger age groups in England, no one really thought much of me. And then there was this guy who thought, I mean, I was 12 and he was telling me you're going to be a star. Yeah. So then when I was 16, just finished my GCSEs, and England had a program, where the players went to Loughborough. And you studied. I didn't go because I wasn't good enough. Well, I was deemed not to be good enough, by England. They had picked, I don't know, like 5 to 10 players from each age group, whatever. The [inaudible] said, "No, look, she's not coming. She's not good enough." At that point, all my friends are going to Loughborough to train and to be full-time athletes.

 

Lucy Bronze  (13m 35s):

And I'm thinking I'm going to drop behind. So that was why it was like, right. We're going to go to America. And if you can't have it in England, you'll do it somewhere else. So I went to America. I had a great time there. But then improved there. I got better there. England then rang me up again and said, "If you're going to be in America, then we're just not going to pick you."

 

Sue Anstiss (13m 55s):

Oh, wow!

 

Lucy Bronze  (13m 56s):

Yeah. So kind of have this, stuck between a rock and a hard place situation. People always ask me why I didn't ever, why I didn't stay in America. Didn't I like it? I loved it. I played at the best team. The players that I played with, I think about eight of them have won at least one world cup. Yeah. It was amazing. I was training every day. I was doing the fitness. Just loved every minute of it. I feel like I maybe made the wrong decision, because at 17 you think your world's going to end if England is not going to pick you. Whereas actually I should have had the attitude, "Well, if I'm good enough, they'll come crawling back." But I wasn't that strong, for obvious reasons. Because I've never really had that belief from them. So I came back. And funny, well, not funny enough, but that's when my knee injury started, off the back of returning to England.

 

Lucy Bronze  (14m 40s):

That was when I first got injured. The whole span of knee injuries happened. And I started university in Leeds, instead, and just finished my degree there. But that was when I was balancing my life, was going to university, being very badly injured. Working. Obviously, I didn't have money. So I have to work, like everybody else does. And then try to train, kind of not professionally [inaudible]. It was when the league just changed, the league that it is today. That shift of women's football kind of happened, in a shift of my life as well.

 

Sue Anstiss (15m 13s):

Yeah, yeah.

 

Lucy Bronze  (15m 14s):

So I always feel like I've kind of been on this women's football journey, when people talk about it. Like my life is kind of that journey.

 

Sue Anstiss (15m 21s):

That was one of my questions later. I was like, you've been in parallel of the journey of the professional women's game. Haven't you? So that's interesting. I didn't realize that was why you came back. I was going to ask you. I guess it's the changing time then. And I guess moving ahead. Oh, I've got so much time for your mother. She sounds fantastic. I'd like to meet her sometime. But I've had a passion for helping her kids through. But in 2017, you made the move to Lyon, in France. So why that move?

 

Lucy Bronze  (15m 47s):

They were just the best team in the world, in my eyes. At City, we had played against them. I mean, I enjoyed my time at City. The first time was brilliant. We won trophies. And then we played against Lyon. And I literally just went, "Wow! This team is amazing!" We got beat in the first leg. The second leg, we went to Lyon, played in their stadium, with these fans. And again, I was just blown away, for these are amazing. I didn't realize, but at the time, like one of the big shots at Lyon, I didn't know who he was, but he walked up to me at the end of the game, down the tunnel, and kind of was like, "I think you're amazing. Like you're such a good player. We absolutely love you." And I just kinda just took it as a compliment.

 

Lucy Bronze  (16m 28s):

I thought, "Well, like, wow! Thanks." I didn't really see myself on this same level as these Lyon players. Turns out, a couple of weeks later, Lyon were knocking on the door saying, "Right. Come and play for us." And it was an opportunity that I just couldn't turn down, at the time. I was playing in the best team in the world. I have this opportunity to win Champions Leagues, and Leagues and play with all the best players in the world, who I inspired, like I wanted to be like my entire career. You know, Wendie Renard and people like that. And now they want to play with me. So yeah, it was a no-brainer.

 

Sue Anstiss (17m 1s):

And how did you cope with the language and the culture? And I guess that must have been a massive change to go live in France, rather than the States.

 

Lucy Bronze  (17m 8s):

Yeah. It's funny, cause I can speak French now, but there's a girl at City, and she's French. And she said, "Did you know French when you went to Lyon? Cause like you speak pretty good now." And I said, "I didn't know a word." I could count like one, two, three. I remember having a little book, cause we had the Euros, just before I was signing for Lyon. And I had a little book for the Euros, where I was going to try and teach myself a little bit of French. I just about learned left and right. I think my dad's Portuguese, and he kind of brought us up speaking Portuguese a lot to us. So I think learning new languages came a little bit easier to me than maybe your standard English person, who puts on a silly accent and speaks English to people in foreign countries.

 

Lucy Bronze  (17m 48s):

But yeah, adapting to a different culture, different language, maybe it was a lot easier, having already been brought up in two different cultures of Portuguese and English. So settling in was easy enough. Learning the language was difficult, but it was, I think I just looked at it that we all were kind of going through it, as foreigners. And it was part and parcel of it. And I think with football, as well, sometimes you don't need to know a language. You can just talk to each other without talking to each other. But yeah, even just learning the language was such an amazing life skill to get, regardless of all the experiences I had in football. To say that I can speak French now. Pretty amazing.

 

Sue Anstiss (18m 27s):

Yeah. Yeah. And was your attitude to women's football, very different in France, do you think, to here, when you got there? Did it feel different?

 

Lucy Bronze  (18m 34s):

As a country and as like a Federation in France, I think their thinking is behind ours, in England. However, Lyon, specifically, their thinking is ahead of everybody else, which is quite an unusual balance. So like in the league, sometimes I would be a bit like, oh, the English League, the other teams have got a lot more to offer in terms of what they're putting into their teams. But is anyone really on this level at Lyon or up, where this president, like the guy that owns the football club, is just as invested, if not more invested in this women's team, like emotionally than he is in the men's team? Maybe not money-wise. Well, definitely not money-wise.

 

Lucy Bronze  (19m 14s):

No one is. But he would come to the games. He would, he'd be in the changing room afterwards. He would know everything that was going on. Like this is the guy that runs the club and he would know who's on games against, who's playing well, who's not playing well. Like, you know, everything about the women's team more than he would know probably about the men's team. And I think he just saw the women's team as his. It's been his project for the past kind of decade. And credit's ruined, because he's got, he just deserves out of it is one countless Champions League titles and won all sorts with this team, because he just invested some of his time, some of his money and he got it all back. You know, that's what everyone keeps trying to say, but this guy is living and breathing that.

 

Sue Anstiss (19m 57s):

He's done it. Yeah. Absolutely. You clearly can say that playing fully, helped your game develop. Do you think that players today can get the same opportunities with teams within the FA WSL as you did going off to play in Europe?

 

Lucy Bronze  (20m 11s):

I think to a certain extent, I think the way that the league in Engalnd, is improving. And a lot of more foreign players. A lot top players are common to play in the league. So you're going to get the experience, that I had of playing with these top players, which obviously you don't play with the same players at England. If you know, it's a German person or Dutch person or what have you. So you do have those experiences, but also I think there's a level of comparability in like, in England, like the English League. You see it in the Premier League as well. You know, I think I watched the game the other day and they said something about one of the Wolves players, who's Portuguese. And they were like, imagine if he was English, imagine what, how we would be talking about him and saying, oh, he would have the world at his feet.

 

Lucy Bronze  (20m 54s):

And I think there's a level, there's that in women's football as well. It's, you're comfortable in your own country, your own language, your own settings. Everything's a little bit easier. So maybe not pushing as hard and you getting all the praise, because you're English and your homegrown. Whereas actually if you go into another country, they don't care that you're English. Like you've got to prove yourself even more so. And you are putting yourself in a place that's a little bit uncomfortable and you know, this country doesn't know who you are, or they might know a little bit from tournaments, but that's all they know. So you have to prove yourself all over again. So it gives that little bit level of motivation. And it's just a little bit different, pushing yourself out of a comfort zone.

 

Sue Anstiss (21m 35s):

And Jess Fishlock said that actually, about playing, about being one of the few overseas players, you just got to prove yourself over and above to make sure that you're selected. Very interesting. In 2019, you became the first English footballer and the first defender to win the UEFA - Women's Player of The Year Award. And then you were named Best FIFA Women's Player, in 2020. So how did it feel to win those awards? And that would, I guess, after former winners like Megan Rapinoe and Marta, in the past.

 

Lucy Bronze  (22m 4s):

Yeah, I think it's crazy because when, like you mentioned being a defender, it's certainly not something that you have on your agenda, in your career, because I feel like maybe it's not something that's possible. Everyone wants a goal scorer.

 

Sue Anstiss (22m 17s):

Yeah.

 

Lucy Bronze  (22m 18s):

Everyone loves the silky skills and those people who set up the gold score. The goals there. They kind of headlines, all the time. So I think it's never really been on my list of things that I want to achieve, but to have achieved them, pretty special. And to kind of hit that criteria of being the first English person or first defender and kind of paving a way for other people to think anyone's capable of winning this award. It's not just specifically and these people, winning the FIFA award, especially. When I look at the people who've previously won it, that's the one where I'm like, "Whoa!" Like Marta. Marta was THE name that, you know, everyone knew growing up. I know I talk about Kelly Smith and [inaudible] in England. But Marta is like, it's Marta.

 

Lucy Bronze  (22m 60s):

She's like the Messi or the Ronaldo, the equivalent. Just known through the entire world. She's just had everything [inaudible] in a heyday. Like she was THE best. So to be kind of on that list of names, yeah. With people in that kind of caliber, is something that I think I prefer. Not that I don't like winning the award, like the award was fantastic. But just to be in the kind of same list of these people, is the best feeling. I think.

 

Sue Anstiss (23m 24s):

You clearly are super, super talented player physically. But how important do you think your mindset has been to your success across your career?

 

Lucy Bronze  (23m 32s):

I think as I've grown older, I think I've realized that my mindset has probably been my biggest asset.

 

Sue Anstiss (23m 38s):

Right.

 

Lucy Bronze  (23m 39s):

My physical capabilities have always carried me to the top, but when I think about actually how I got them to be so good, is because of my mental capabilities. Wanting to always win at a race, or be the strongest, or be the fastest, or be the fittest. It was never about, oh, I'm going to get this in the fitness test. I had to do a fitness test just to beat the person next to me. And I wouldn't even know who they were. It didn't even matter the person that I was baeating. I just enjoy winning. I enjoyed being competitive. I think that's maybe something that I got from having a big brother, who never let me win. He let me, he always let me play with them. I'll say this. He'll always, always let me play with him, but he would never let me win.

 

Lucy Bronze  (24m 19s):

If I won, I won. But if he won, he wouldn't stop rubbing it in my face. So I think I just got that competitive mindset from a young age. And it's definitely something that's carried me in my career, wanting to be the best at everything that I do. Wanting to get the top. Wanting to win games. I never set out to win these individual trophies. No. I Just want to win. Just that feeling is better than actually the material thing of holding this trophy. Like I actually don't like holding these trophies and celebrating. The feeling that I get inside is the best feeling, which I think that's that mental feeling. That's definitely been my biggest asset.

 

Sue Anstiss (24m 53s):

Are you competitive off the pitch as well?

 

Lucy Bronze  (24m 56s):

Yeah. I think as I've gotten older, it's calmed down a little bit, because people point fun of it. Kind of have fun of it a lot. I think the girls try and wind me up about, they'd be like, "Oh, Lucy, I bet I can do this better than you." And they can see like I'm itching to fight back and be like, "No, I'll do it better than you. I can do it faster." But I think as I've got older and mature, I've got, I've kind of, I've noticed that people try to push my buttons a little bit, but also I'm like, there's no point in looking at other people. Be the best or other people, I need to be able to lift people up as well as myself, which has come with being a bit much more mature, being a leader, wanting to be in the captain of teams and stuff is to bring everyone with you and not just you on your own, but yeah, I am definitely competitive off the pitch.

 

Lucy Bronze  (25m 40s):

I want to be the first to do something or to do it the best or do it the right way. And I get quite impatient, but I've learned to balance it in my head.

 

Sue Anstiss (25m 50s):

Excellent. And you mentioned that you were quite shy growing up, in terms of talking and so has it gotten easier to speak in public and to kind of take the stage in the way that you've needed to in recent years?

 

Lucy Bronze  (26m 0s):

I think it's just had to. I think it's part and parcel with being a footballer these days, you know, like the games grow and if you become a better player, then more people want to speak to you. That's something that I've definitely had to work on. It's now becoming easy to me. Going to France was definitely a big push in the uncomfortable zone. I tried doing interviews in French, when I don't even like doing them in English. But yeah, it's kind of goes with the role and getting older as well, anyway, it kind of comes with that. But when I was younger, I hated speaking to new people. I hated speaking about myself, even though I was competitive. I wanted to be good. I didn't like speaking about being good. I didn't like saying I am good, but I like thinking it, but I would never like to say.

 

Lucy Bronze  (26m 44s):

I despised it. But then as you get older, you learn that you have to share experiences, to help other people. It's not about, I'm not doing it to help myself and to become this person. It's because I'm talking to share my experiences, because that will help another little Lucy Bronze, who maybe does feel a bit uncomfortable.

 

Sue Anstiss (27m 4s):

Yeah. And on that, there are some lovely videos of you on Instagram, surprising fans during Lockdown. So how much does it mean to you to be able to inspire that next generation of young girls and boys that are coming through to play?

 

Lucy Bronze  (27m 17s):

Yeah. I love that. I think, my mom says all the time that I'm better at speaking to children than I am to adults. They're the things that I enjoy doing. I like talking to the kids. I can get on a level with them and it's exciting to see that they're, they want to be like Lucy Bronze. And I'll have a used shirt. And I'm just like, this is so crazy. It's not as crazy now, but my mom will still text me and she'll send me all sorts of like, this little girl's got your shirt. And I'm like, I know mom, like I'm playing for England now. That's what happens. But I think my family are still a little bit in amazement about it, because that's the family name and thing. But I absolutely love it. I love talking to all the fans, especially the young ones.

 

Lucy Bronze  (27m 58s):

And like I said, the boys and the girls, because I loved talking to a little boy about if you watch my game, just as much as a lot of girls, both are such just as important as each other.

 

Sue Anstiss (28m 7s):

You've won Champions League and cup finals and played for your country. You've actually achieved so much of what you set out to achieve as a young girl. So what drives you today? And what's your ultimate goal in terms of playing?

 

Lucy Bronze  (28m 20s):

I think I'm still driven by the fact that I've not won everything. Always my biggest focus has always been a winner with England. That is something that I've yet to achieve, on a national team, because obviously we have team GB now as well, which is exciting. But yeah, my goal, even as a little girl was, you know, I didn't know, didn't really know what the Champions League was when I was younger, but you always know what the World Cup is. I think that's the one that you always hear about. So yeah, I've always wanted to win a World Cup, a Euros, an Olympics - all three would equally be just as good. So I think that's still my driving factor. Until the day that my lungs give up on me or my knees give in on me, I'm going to be striving to win something with the national team, whether I'm the starting player, or I'm playing on the bench or whatever.

 

Lucy Bronze  (29m 4s):

Like I just need to be part of that team that has this bit of success that never been done before.

 

Sue Anstiss (29m 10s):

Well, if you get to win all three, that'd be fantastic.

 

Lucy Bronze  (29m 12s):

Yeah, wouldn't it be.

 

Sue Anstiss (29m 14s):

No pressure. And what sort of thoughts do you have for your future? So after your playing career, do you think about that at all now?

 

Lucy Bronze  (29m 21s):

I think it's a question that I get asked kind of each year. My answer changes each year. I went to university and I got my degree in sports science. That used to be the thing that I wanted to do. That was my passion. And because of a lot of knee injuries, I had that passion to kind of have something in that area. And then I went through a phase where I thought, do you know what, I'm so involved in football, that when I finish, I don't want anything to do with it. So I'm going to buy a bar in Spain and go to Barcelona and retire and just have a nice life, where it's just nice care-free life.

 

Sue Anstiss (29m 54s):

With your shirts up on the wall or something?

 

Lucy Bronze  (29m 57s):

Yeah. Just watch football every night. And yeah. And then I, as again, I've changed, kind of becoming more of a leader, say in England, especially. I sit there and think there's so much that needs to be changed, still. And now I'm in this position, where I've actually got a voice, where people want to listen to me. I'm going to be selling myself short and other people short, if I don't stand up for these people in health. So now kind of thinking, I actually want to be in some sort of leadership role, where I can make a difference, whether thats FIFA, UEFA, the FA or club level, whatever it is, I'm in a privileged position to have a voice. I might as well use that. And then more recently I thought, oh, well, I might be able to coach. And I used to think I'd be bad at coaching, because I'd get so frustrated with people not wanting to be the best.

 

Lucy Bronze  (30m 43s):

Yeah. So my mind kind of things about a lot, but I'm set on doing something that's going to make a difference and help other people.

 

Sue Anstiss (30m 51s):

Excellent. And we've obviously seen the growth of athlete activists in recent years and the huge impact to players like Megan Rapinoe and others. And you were part of, Raheem Sterling's Time For Change Campaign last summer, too. So how important is it for you to use your platform for social change?

 

Lucy Bronze  (31m 6s):

Yeah, I think really important. I think that's kind of part, now, part and parcel of becoming a bigger and better player in these things is, like I said, your voice is heard by people. And we're in a position where a lot of young people, especially, are listening to us. And they're the ones that are going to make the difference in the future, ultimately. You know, we can sit there and talk about parliament and these businesses and yeah, I want to make a change to them of course. But some people are stuck in their ways. We've got so much youth now for the future, who can make these big changes. And if they're maybe listening to Lucy Bronze telling them to treat everyone equally and give people fair opportunities, then that being ingrained in them from a young age and hopefully then they can go on and make a difference as well.

 

Lucy Bronze  (31m 49s):

But yeah, it's important. I think so many sportspeople have been through all these different adversities and they share experiences with their teammates. That's maybe why they feel like in a position to make a change and help other people because they see it firsthand.

 

Sue Anstiss (32m 4s):

We've obviously got an incredible few years ahead, which we've alluded to in terms of Tokyo and then Worl Cup and Euros, too. So what impact do you think it could have if England did win? What impact you think it could have for women's sport?

 

Lucy Bronze  (32m 17s):

Yeah, I think it'd be huge. I think 2015, when we played the World Cup in Canada, that was our first sort of, obviously, we weren't successful in fact that we didn't win the tournament, but we had certain successes in that. And that completely changed the game. And again, that was probably one of the moments of my career, where it was parallel to women's football as well, as I had a good tournament and the tournament was good. And both kind of blew up. I saw the change that made in England. And just thinking, if we could just have a little bit more of that success and do even more, how much more could we make a difference? I remember coming back from 2015, because I was in Canada and the time difference. So we didn't really know what we were coming back to.

 

Lucy Bronze  (32m 58s):

I remember my agent sent me like an advert that [inaudible] has done, because they were a sponsor at that time. And it was a little boy playing football in the garden. And he had a shirt on that said Bronze on the back. And the adverts had something like, "2015, the year where every little boy and girl is kicking around, calling himself, Lucy Bronze", or something like that, something along those lines. And I was just like, that's so crazy. Like when I was younger, I used to sit there and be like, "Oh, I'm David Beckham." And now people said, actually the doing that with women's players now, like that's the kind of change that we want. And we didn't even win the tournament and something like that happened. So just think, imagine if we can do that at a whole Euro's.

 

Lucy Bronze  (33m 40s):

And next year in an Olympics. And these things where, me just already involved now. So if we are successful now, it would be, it'd just be crazy. It'd be [inaudible] that we've been working towards.