Lucy Bronze Admits to Being Taken Aback by Rapid Growth of Women's Football

Ali Rampling

England full-back Lucy Bronze has admitted that she could not have predicted just how far the women's game would come in the space of a few years.

The Lionesses play Germany at Wembley on Saturday in front of what is anticipated to be a record breaking attendance for a women's football fixture in the UK. 

Bronze made her England debut in 2013 at the Pirelli Stadium - the home of Burton Albion - in front of 5,300 people (the attendance helped considerably by the 4,500 free tickets given away to local school children). 

As the Lyon right back prepares to play at the national stadium in front of over 85,000 fans, even she admits that she is staggered by how much the game has grown in six years. 

In an interview with ​The Guardian, Bronze said: “I think it’s funny when people ask me where the game’s going to be in five years’ time. I always think I just don’t know because I would never have expected it to be here now today. 

"It’s come on so much in the six years since I made my debut. Everything that you think it’s going to be, it’s just more."

Since Bronze made her first appearance for England in 2013, the Lionesses have reached the semi-finals of three consecutive major tournaments, while the WSL has become a full time professional league.

In that time, Bronze's career has taken off at a similar pace. She won the PFA Player of the Year twice in four years, announced herself onto the international stage with a selection of dazzling performances at the 2015 World Cup and was named the 2019 UEFA Player of the Year. 

The 28-year-old added: “People ask me how the media or the profile of the game is now and I’m like: ‘I have literally grown with the profile of the game.’

“My age group – Toni Duggan, Jordan Nobbs – we’ve all grown in the game and in the England squad at the same time and as the profile has grown so it’s probably an easier transition for us compared to the likes of Jill Scott, who has been around a lot longer.

“Someone said to me that we’re the last generation of the ones who kind of stuck it in the mud in the beginning but it’s nice to have been at both ends of the spectrum.

“We’ve come from paying to play. I had to pay for my kit to play on a Sunday and things like that. It definitely makes you appreciate things more and you see things from a different perspective.”