by Charlotte Stacey
Reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup with the Lionesses, and with the London Blues now having won the season, it has been a year to remember for Chelsea and England centre back Millie Bright.
With a steadfast resolve and an unwavering solidarity, it is easy to see how for club and country, Millie Bright has established herself as a somewhat prominent figure at the back. She is a powerhouse of a defender. Assertive with a tackle, fearless with a block, and harbouring a physicality that imposes; Bright makes life difficult for any centre forward.
Bright plays the physical game and takes no prisoners in doing so. Never one to shy away from a challenge, she is firm in defence. The preservation of her goal is of the utmost importance, and she will go hammer and tongs to defend it if need be. Yet, she is accountable if ever these encounters are perhaps ill-timed or ill-judged. With a loyalty that always places the team ahead of herself, Bright will hold her hands up when a mistake is made. Well in the know that reflection is an essential part of individual and collective growth.
Vigilance is key and Bright’s awareness is notable. Although she is possibly not the fastest player on the pitch, her reaction times are sharp, and it is here where Bright is, well, bright. She is quick to react in front of her own goal, clearing the line with a stamp of authority when things are looking a little touch and go. Bright seemingly becomes a keeper without gloves. A testament, not only to her winning mentality, but also her personal devotion to play her part in keeping a clean sheet.
But Bright does not just draw command on the ground. Her pairing of stature and strength means that she is also rather problematic in the air. At both ends of the pitch, she is a player to keep your eye on. When it comes to offensive corners, Bright is more than capable of nodding the ball on target, habitually testing her markers. In the defensive third, Bright will answer a set piece with a force of a header. A warning to her opposition – not today.
Yet, where her host of defensive abilities now see her tenaciously holding the back line, this has not always been the case. Bright’s experience in midfield and fullback roles are still recognisable in her instinct to get moving. Be assured that she will make the most of a playmaking opportunity when one presents itself. Every so often Bright treats us to a thunderous run, charging the length of the field in a bid to rouse a lulling momentum. These surges of energy often have the desired effect and a shift can be sensed. In a similar fashion, Bright’s keen eye for a long ball is dangerous. With a little look up and a simple switch of play, she is able to open doors and kick-start pockets of creativity, typically utilised by her teammates.
At her very core, Bright is a player’s player and it is clear she looks after her own. She whole-heartedly throws herself into anything that comes her way; an example to those around her. With the boldness to go for it, but the receptivity to learn from it, Bright champions the characteristics of a maturing leader. Her fierce allegiance to her team, and to her cause, means that supporters of Chelsea and England certainly have plenty to invest in.
As long as Millie is around, you can always look on the bright side.