Lucy Bronze EXCLUSIVE: England and Lyon star reveals surprise at being named UEFA Women’s Player of the Year

30 Aug

England ace Lucy Bronze has revealed her surprise at being named the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year in a refreshingly humble interview with talkSPORT.

Voted for by top coaches in the women’s game and journalists, Bronze is the first English recipient of the award after an outstanding 12 months on the field.

The 27-year-old was voted the second-best player at the World Cup as she helped England to the semi-finals in France and also helped Lyon to their sixth Women’s Champions League title.

England’s defender Lucy Bronze appears screen after winning the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year award in Monaco
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Bronze joined the French club in 2017 and has won back-to-back Champions League and Division 1 Féminine titles, as well as the Coup de France, since joining the powerhouse club of the women’s game.

She also won three Women’s Super League titles during previous spells with Liverpool and Manchester City.

Being crowned the best player in Europe will come as no surprise to Lionesses manager Phil Neville, who has tipped Bronze to win the Ballon d’Or plenty of times in the past.

Following England’s 3-0 World Cup quarter-final win over Norway, in which Bronze scored a screamer, Neville said: “I think what you’ve seen today is that Lucy Bronze is the best player in the world, without a shadow of a doubt. I’ve said it once, I’ve said it three times. There’s no player like her in the world. There’s no player that’s got her athleticism or her quality. I’ve played full-back, but never ever ever to that level. She’s the best player in the world.”

But it seems Bronze still needs convincing, having admitted to talkSPORT she doesn’t even feel like the best player at Lyon despite beating fellow Lyon stars Ada Hegerberg and Amandine Henry to the UEFA gong.

And the full-back paid tribute to her club team-mates for pushing her to raise her game since joining the French giants two years ago.

“I don’t think I would have been up for an award like that if I hadn’t moved to Lyon,” she said on Friday’s Sports Breakfast.

“The fact three girls were nominated for the award from the exact same team, I play with a Ballon d’Or winner, the French captain, the Japanese captain, they win awards all the time, it’s a team full of superstars and they push me to make me better.

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Lucy Bronze celebrates with Lyon team-mate Shanice van de Sanden after beating Barcelona in the UEFA Women’s Champions League final in Budapest[/caption]

“I don’t feel like the best player because I play with them and I know how good they are, which is probably why I was a bit surprised that I won the award last night.

“I don’t think it has quite sunk in. I just hear ‘Lucy Bronze’ and just kind of don’t hear the ‘Women’s Player of the Year’ bit.

“But if I hadn’t gone to Lyon, I don’t think my game would be where it’s at now.”

Bronze’s win was announced at a glitzy event in Monaco, as awards were handed out ahead of the draw for the 2019/20 Champions League group stage.

The two top awards went to Virgil van Dijk, crowned the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year for his performances for European champions Liverpool, and Bronze – but the England star was forced to give her speech via a pre-recorded video as the Lionesses were actually playing a friendly against Belgium that evening.

Lucy Bronze said she celebrated with her England team-mates when manager Phil Neville told her she had won the award
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Neville’s side drew 3-3 in their first game since the World Cup, and Bronze admitted it was probably best she wasn’t actually at the awards evening in person as she would been anxious about speaking in front of the global superstars in the room, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

She said: “I would have been great to go to the awards and share that moment with such fantastic players from the men’s game. They are global superstars.

“But it was probably better that I couldn’t go because I’m not that great at speaking on the stage and speaking in front of people. It was probably better I did a little message at home than speak to all those people at the event!”

Listen back to Lucy Bronze on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast IN FULL above!

Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk wins UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award at Champions League draw, Lucy Bronze wins Women’s Player of the Year

29 Aug

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has been crowned the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year for his performances during last season’s Champions League.

The Dutchman, who helped the Reds become European champions in 2018/19, beat Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to the award.

Van Dijk won two prizes and Reds team-mate Alisson Becker won Goalkeeper of the Year
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Centre-back Van Dijk also claimed the Defender of the Year prize, with Liverpool team-mate Alisson Becker winning Goalkeeper of the Year.

Messi was named the Forward of the Year award while his Barcelona team-mate Frenkie de Jong won Midfielder of the Year, however, De Jong won it for his performances playing for Ajax.

England defender Lucy Bronze was crowned the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year after helping her club Lyon win the Champions League for a sixth time.

Bronze beat Lyon team-mates Ada Hegerberg and Amandine Henry to the award and becomes the first English recipient of the honour, voted for by top coaches in the women’s game and journalists.

Bronze played for England at the Women’s World Cup in the summer
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The awards were handed out at the 2019/20 Champions League group stage draw in Monaco, which saw Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City learn which three teams they’d have to face in their respective bids to reach the knockout stage of the competition.

Liverpool will face Napoli, FC Salzburg and Genk in Group E, while Spurs take on Bayern Munich, Olympiakos and Red Star Belgrade in Group B.

Europa League champions Chelsea face Ajax, Valencia and Lille in Group H on their return to Europe’s premier club competition.

Meanwhile, Premier League champions Manchester City will play Shakhtar Donetsk, Dinamo Zagreb and Atalanta in Group C.



 

England 1 USA 2: Captain Houghton misses late penalty – free commentary stream for Women’s World Cup semi-final

2 Jul

A win for England against the USA would make the Lionesses the first senior national side to reach a World Cup final since 1966.

Phil Neville’s side face the holders – the team everyone wants to beat – in Lyon in the semi-final on Tuesday, which will be live on talkSPORT.

England, led by captain Steph Houghton, are preparing to play current world champions USA in the semi-finals
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The Netherlands face Sweden in the other semi-final on Wednesday and the winners from the two matches play in the final in Lyon on Sunday. A third-place play-off in Nice will take place on Saturday.

England vs USA: How to listen

Full commentary from the Stade de Lyon will be exclusively live on talkSPORT, with our coverage getting underway at 7pm (BST).

All the build-up to the game will be on talkSPORT, so tune into the commentary here for the live stream or click the radio player below.

You can also listen through the talkSPORT App, on DAB Digital Radio or on MW 1053 or 1089.

For more information about how to listen LIVE on talkSPORT click here.

What time is kick-off?

The game kicks off at 8pm (BST) on Tuesday 2 July and talkSPORT will be live from Lyon to bring you coverage.

The teams

England: Telford, Bronze, Houghton, Bright, Stokes, Walsh, Scott, Mead, Daly, Parris, White.

Subs: Bardsley, Greenwood, Taylor, Kirby, Duggan, Williamson, McManus, Moore, Stanway, Carney, Staniforth, Earps.

USA: Naeher, O’Hara, Dahlkemper, Sauerbrunn, Dunn, Horan, Ertz, Lavelle, Heath, Morgan, Press.

Subs: Harris, Pugh, Mewis, Brian, Lloyd, Krieger, Davidson, Sonnett, Rapinoe, Long, McDonald, Franch.
Referee: Edina Alves Batista

Lucy Bronze tore Norway apart in the quarter-finals and has been called the best player in the world by Phil Neville
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What is being said?

Lucy Bronze, who plays for Lyon, cannot wait to play a World Cup semi-final in her club stadium.

“I’m so excited,” she told talkSPORT. “It’s something I’ve thought about for the last two years, especially the last six months in Lyon when I drive past that stadium I’ve been picturing this game.”

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes can’t wait to see Bronze, who prefers playing at right-back, against USA striker Megan Rapinoe, who has scored five goals so far.

“Bronze can be simply unplayable on the ball [when running with all her power], able to slice open any side, but there is an obvious risk in leaving huge spaces behind for a US side that can be ruthless on the counter.

Along with Rapinoe and Ellen White, USA striker Alex Morgan has also scored five goals
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“How much she is able to drive forward, or ends up with her hands full of defensive work, is a battle within a battle that I cannot wait to see,” adding that Rapinoe is one of the most agile athletes around. “She epitomises her team’s exceptional physicality.”

Manager Neville has described Bronze as the best player in the world. “She should win the Ballon d’Or, 100 per cent. [Against Norway in the quarter-final] you saw a player at the top of her game.”


AMERICAN SPY?


Key stats

Women’s World Cup top scorers:

5 goals: Alex Morgan (USA)
5 goals: Megan Rapinoe (USA)
5 goals: Ellen White (England)

Team stats

In five games, England have scored 11 goals and conceded once, while the US have scored an incredible 22 times – 13 of them came against Thailand – and conceded twice.

Route to the semis

ENGLAND

England 2-1 Scotland (Group D)
England 1-0 Argentina (Group D)
Japan 0-2 England (Group D)
England 3-0 Cameroon (last 16)
Norway 0-3 England (quarter-final)

USA
USA 13-0 Thailand (Group F)
USA 3-0 Chile (Group F)
Sweden 0-2 USA (Group F)
Spain 1-2 USA (last 16)
France 1-2 USA (quarter-final)

England have reached the semi-finals having conceded just once – in the group stage – and now face a USA team that has scored 22 goals so far
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England vs USA: The key Women’s World Cup semi-finals battles, including Lucy Bronze vs Megan Rapinoe and Steph Houghton vs Alex Morgan

2 Jul

England are one step away from the Women’s World Cup final but must first get past a strong United States side in their final four clash.

Phil Neville’s side made it to the semi-final in emphatic fashion with a 3-0 win over Norway while the USA’s path to victory proved much tougher as they overcame France 2-1 in Paris.

Lucy Bronze has been one of the stars at this World Cup
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The American side have been making headlines both on and off the pitch and are one of the favourites to retain their World Cup title.

England have been going from strength to strength and, although slight underdogs, have what it takes to progress on Tuesday night, with commentary live on talkSPORT.

Here at talkSPORT.com we have taken a look at the key battles set to take place during the match in Lyon.

Lucy Bronze vs Megan Rapinoe

Bronze hit the headlines with her sensational strike in the quarter-final, in what was arguably her best performance of the tournament so far.

The right-back has been superb for England so far and is one of the best players in the world, something her boss Neville agrees with.

She will have her hands full with USA’s quarter-final hero Rapinoe lining-up against her.

Megan Rapinoe scored both of goals for the USA in their quarter-final victory
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The winger scored twice in the France match and was their best player during the match.

Rapinoe has also been hitting the headlines off the pitch with her comments about not wanting to go to the White House if they won the World Cup, which predictably provoked a response from Donald Trump.

Steph Houghton vs Alex Morgan

Houghton has been imperious at the back for the Lionesses this tournament and has led by example as captain.

Without her last ditch tackles and goal line clearances, the 3-0 win against Norway would not have been so comfortable.

Alex Morgan has already scored five goals at the World Cup
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She will have Alex Morgan to contend with on Tuesday night, who is currently leading the golden boot race.

Morgan has five goals and three assists with Rapinoe and England’s Ellen White currently tying on five as well.

The USWNT striker may have got all five of her goals in their 13-0 thrashing of Thailand and been quiet since but she will be a constant threat.

Jill Scott vs Julie Ertz

The veteran England midfielder has had a fine World Cup thanks to her tireless running, important tackles, key passes – and the opening goal in the quarter-final.

Her battle with the USA’s midfield will be an interesting one, particularly with Julie Ertz in there.

Jill Scott has been a key player for England at the Women’s World Cup
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Ertz was named in the All-Star team from the 2015 World Cup but as a central defender. She has since moved further up the pitch and into centre midfield but has been as equally successful.

The 27-year-old was nominated as the US Female Player of the Year in 2018.

Nikita Parris vs Crystal Dunn

It will be interesting to see how Parris responds after her second penalty miss of the tournament.

The winger has shown glimpses of the talent she possesses but we are yet to see her reach her full potential at this World Cup.

Parris will have a good test against USA left wing-back Crystal Dunn who likes to go forward.

Nikita Parris scored for England against Scotland in the World Cup opener
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Dunn has 24 goals in 90 games for her country but may have more defensive duties on her mind when dealing with the England player

Women’s World Cup 2019: Predicted England team to face Scotland in France

9 Jun

England’s World Cup campaign gets underway against Scotland on Sunday, LIVE on talkSPORT.

The Lionesses came third in the 2015 tournament losing to Japan in the semi-final before beating Germany in a play-off.

Phil Neville could guide England Women to a first ever World Cup triumph
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Former Manchester United defender Phil Neville will be hoping to add more silverware to England’s cabinet after guiding his side to a SheBelieves Cup triumph in March.

England and Scotland last met at Euro 2017 when the Lionesses thrashed the Scots 6-0 in Holland.

But England midfielder Scott Jill admits they were facing an inexperienced Scotland side two years ago.

She said: “For us, it’s one of the biggest games of our lives.

“I think what’s important is we don’t get lost in the emotion of the occasion and we just stay logical, earn the right to play.

“I haven’t even thought about that [6-0 win], which probably shows how I think this game’s going to be completely different.

“At that time, Scotland had some fantastic players but they probably didn’t have the experience that they’ve got now.

“I definitely think it will be a much tighter affair than the one before. We need to do our best to find time to [block] out all that noise that’s going to be outside.”

England No.1 Carly Telford is expected to start in goal with a back-four of Lucy Bronze, captain Steph Houghton, Leah Williamson, Alex Greenwood in front of her.

Team news

In pre-tournament friendlies, Neville used a 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 formation against Denmark and New Zealand, respectively.

He could turn to experience for the Scotland clash with 136-capped Jill Scott anchoring the midfield with energetic duo Jade Moore and Keira Walsh playing slightly further ahead.

Barcelona’s Toni Duggan and Lyon’s Nikita Parris could operate the wings with Euro 2017 top scorer Jodie Taylor leading the line.

England have never lost a game that Taylor, 33, has scored in.

Predicted England team

Could this be England’s starting XI against Scotland?
buildlineup.com