Lucy Bronze: "I once worked in Domino's. Now I’m playing with the best in the world..."
Not even a three-hour flight delay can dampen Lucy Bronze’s mood. It’s been a testing journey from France to this corner of east London, but the straight-talking 26-year-old is still the most relaxed person in the room.
Frankly, though, why wouldn’t she be? Bronze is at the peak of her powers playing for the finest club side in the world, and in May laid her hands on the UEFA Women’s Champions League trophy for the first time, having joined Lyon from Manchester City last summer. The Division 1 Féminine title was secured with 21 wins and a solitary draw from 22 matches. They scored 104 goals – 45 more than second-placed PSG.
It takes a special talent to make it to France’s third-largest city, then, but Bronze is precisely that. She is England’s best player – as recognised at the FIFA 19 Ratings Awards (with her none-too-shabby 85 rating) – and was one of 10 players shortlisted for the Best FIFA Women’s Player prize. Life is good.
“Really good,” she tells FourFourTwo as we pull up a pew. “The girls are cool, and training is unbelievable because I’m playing with the best in the world. We had six girls nominated for the top 10 in the world, and could easily have had two more in there too. It’s mad.”
Bronze didn’t make the final three-woman shortlist for the FIFA award to be announced on Monday, but concedes that she never really expected to in the first place.
“I wasn’t disappointed at all,” she says, frankly. “To be honest I agree with that; I’m not one of the three best players in the world. Marta has been at the top for the past decade, and I play with the other two: Ada Hegerberg scores so many goals and has broken records, and Dzsenifer Marozsan is just unbelievable. She’s my favourite player.”
Speaking of favourites, it’s time to reveal the personality behind the player…
If I wasn’t for football I’d be… a tennis player, maybe? Or an accountant, because I love maths. Two very different things, I know. I was OK at tennis – good enough to beat Serena Williams, definitely… But no, I don’t really like playing solo sports so I don’t think I could have got to the top. I was just decent. Maths is my true calling in life, which is bizarre.
The funniest player I've ever played with is… Shanice van de Sanden, my Lyon team-mate. She’s Dutch and doesn’t speak English amazingly well, so she comes off even funnier. With England it’s Jordan Nobbs - but not on purpose. She just says stupid things.
The worst job I’ve done is… well, I worked in Domino's while I was at uni and playing for Everton, but I actually loved it. We had a good bunch of people there, it was always a laugh and I always got free pizza at the end of the night. And I also worked in a five-a-side place pulling pints for the blokes who were playing. I loved that as well!
The one thing I'd change about football is… Oh wow - nothing, I love it. Actually, maybe throw-ins. I don’t like them. Because I’m a right-back I always have to take them, but they’re terrible – they slow the game down, and who really gets taught how to throw that way? You just don’t, do you? Kick-ins for me, please.
The last film I watched was… The Incredibles 2, the new one. I went to the cinema in England to watch that, in 3D too. All out.
My heroes growing up were… in football, I loved Kelly Smith because she was the best female footballer in England. In wider sport, Kelly Holmes – I’ll always remember her from the 2004 Olympics when she crossed the line with her eyes popping out. From my family, my mum, auntie and nan were all strong women, and why I am who I am today.
I knew I’d made it as a player when… I played in the 2015 World Cup. I scored in two games, we got to the semi-finals and eventually ended up getting the bronze medal. That was a big turning point in my career personally, and for English women’s football too.
The day football broke my heart… was the same tournament. The World Cup semi-finals: I was playing, got subbed off and watched on for the last 10 minutes as we conceded in the dying seconds to miss out on the final. Sitting there watching was the most heartbreaking thing.
If I could have one wish… it would be to change that!
My favourite TV programme is… Gray’s Anatomy at the moment, purely because it’s the only thing I can find in English on French TV! They’re a bit behind, but there’s three episodes every day so they’re catching up quick: 7-9 every night… I’ve got that on lockdown.
If I could have dinner with anyone… it would be Serena Williams. She’s a pretty badass sportswoman, the best, and she knows that she’s the best. She’s got that aura and is known as a very cool person, so is someone I’d love to meet one day.
My guilty pleasure is… cake. Tiramisu, chocolate cake, carrot cake, lemon cake – anything. I think my level of cuisine was pretty good even before I came to France, but it’s the wine here that’s really improved my palette – when I have it, anyway. It’s meant to be good for you, right?
My most overused word is… probably French ones. I can understand it but I’m not confident enough to speak properly yet, so I’ll just shout out random words all the time. I say ‘merde’ a lot – they’ve all got a song about it, so it can’t be that bad can it?
- Out on all platforms September 28!
The song that reminds me of childhood is… that one off the Nike advert when the Brazil team are playing in the airport. Me and my best friend when I was little, Lucy [Staniforth], who plays for England now with me, tried to recreate it in my back garden with my brother. Similar tricks, but maybe not as well executed.
My most embarrassing moment… You know what, I’m quite good at avoiding embarrassment on a football pitch. I’ve never had a bad own goal, and I’m a defender! You’ve just jinxed me now…
Top of my bucket list is… I think I need to go on a safari. I love animals and it would be amazing.
If I could go back in time, I’d go… to my childhood, maybe? I think it would be funny to see myself as a little baby, but maybe that’s short-sighted. I should go and see the dinosaurs really, shouldn’t I?
Lucy Bronze was speaking at the launch of EA Sports FIFA 19 after winning the Best England Women’s Player award. FIFA 19 is released September 28 on Playstation 4, Xbox One and all other platforms. To get your copy, head here