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“My Mum used to tell me ‘do what makes you happy”
WYLDE Woman, footballer Lucy Bronze, has the best advice on gaining self-belief, motivation and bouncing back.Thirty year old Lucy’s many accolades, apart from being a driving force in the Euro 2022’s winning team, include being named best women’s player in the world. We asked her the secrets of her success.
You’ve suffered a succession of serious knee injuries that could have stopped your career – how have you bounced back?“Going through injuries when I was younger has moulded me for the rest of my life. When I was 19 I had three knee surgeries while studying at university and having a part-time job. My friends around me were doing so well and I was walking around on crutches. I was so determined to get back. One of the girls on my course was doing really well in her career and that motivated me. She got picked for the England senior team and that was my dream and at the time I was not even close. People say imagine ‘what your career would have been like if you hadn’t had those knee injuries?’ But when I got back I did double in training, I did extra, I worked harder to get back to where I thought I should have been. My injuries are one of the biggest things to push me on in my career.”
How important is it to have great women around you?“One of my best friends from when I was younger, who I’m still friends with today, is Lucy Staniforth, who also plays for England. She’s pushed me in my career more than anyone. We were very competitive when we were 13 and 14 but we would also lift each other up and get the best out of each other. It is no coincidence that we both made it to the top. Lucy and I have supported each other at different times in our careers. We have both been there for each other.”
Lucy Bronze playing for Manchester City
Did you just want to play football or did you want to be the best?
“I assumed that once I was in my job as a corporate lawyer, I’d just be able to carry on – which I w I was focused on my team being the best and my team winning, which has stayed with me. I’ve tried to do extra for the people around me but that has pushed me on as an individual.
I remember being given the award for Best Player In The World but I had not played football for that accolade. I played for the team wins. I think that at the end of my career I will think I was the best player in the world, I did that, but until then I am looking at what is next. “
“I worked harder to get back to where I thought I should have been. My injuries are one of the biggest thing to push me on in my career. ”
How do you feel about being a role model?
“I love it when young boys like women’s football. We are giving young girls the confidence to play and we are showing boys that young girls can play too. That is so important.
I feel a sense of responsibility which has changed as I have got older. When you are first told girls, boys, and even adults, are looking at you like a role model you think you shouldn’t make mistakes, you should become the perfect person. As I’ve got older, I’ve realised that being a role model is being the best version of you. Making mistakes is part of learning. Be yourself don’t try to be somebody else. I want young girls and boys to realise you don’t have to follow a mould.”
Do you have plans for life after playing football?“I used to say to my mum I would buy a bar in Barcelona and have nothing to do with playing football but as I have got older that has changed. Becoming a bigger player has given me a bigger voice and I would like to be involved in helping push the women’s game forward, I quite enjoy having arguments with people who don’t agree with me. But as I’ve got older, I’ve been able to admit when I’m wrong.”
Has your family played an important part in your success?
“I’m fortunate my family has always been close. When people meet my family, you can see how I have become the person I am. It’s because of my mum and dad, my brother, my sister, my auntie and my nan. When I’ve asked my mum what I should do with my career she’s said ‘do what makes you happy.’
I have a brother who is two years older than me. Everything he did I wanted to do. He was a good big brother but he always took the first go of everything, he would never let me win, which is why I am probably so competitive. I was so shy when I was little, I couldn’t speak to anyone, my mum used to speak for me. Football was the way I connected with people.”
Lucy Bronze with her Brother
What makes you happy?“My little dog, a six year old Westie called Narla. No matter what is going on she always treats me the same.”
What advice would you give to a younger you?“Receiving an MBE was the most surreal thing. When I received the letter, I genuinely thought it w Always believe in yourself whatever others around you are saying and keep on working hard. Hard work will get you through the rough patches.”
What is the best advice you have ever been given?“Being competitive with my brother who was bigger, older and stronger than me, I used to run to my mum and say it‘s not fair Jorge keeps beating me. She said: “Do you know what Lucy, sometimes life is not fair.” It is something I have taken with me all my life. Fairness won’t aways happen. You have to understand what you need to fight for and what is just unfair.”
Thank you Lucy, for sharing your story with us.
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