Chelsea's Millie Bright Chelsea Women v Manchester City Women WSL football match, Kingsmeadow stadium, Kingston upon Thames, UK - 09 Sep 2018 Photo: Jed Leicester for The FA

Chelsea defender declared fit for crucial FIFA Women’s World Cup clash

Chelsea and England defender Millie Bright is ready to return to action after suffering an injury in the Lionesses’ first FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 match against Scotland. 

The 25-year-old centre-back sat out Friday night’s Group D victory over Argentina in Le Havre as a result of the knock and now faces a battle with Abbie McManus to reclaim her place in Phil Neville’s side.

Bright, who currently plays for Chelsea, was forced off after a collision with club-teammate Erin Cuthbert in England’s 2-1 opening game victory but is back in contention for a start against Japan.

The defender injured her shoulder in the success against Scotland, however, she has been keen to downplay its significance ahead of the battle for top spot.

Speaking to University of Derby Football Journalism student Thomas Smith about the injury she said: “It’s all good, just needed a little bit of a rest, but yeah good to go now, I’m back in training.

“It was just a fall, I’ve had an injury before on this shoulder. It was a little niggle but obviously it was so early in the tournament it wasn’t worth the risk.”

Her absence paved the way for the aforementioned McManus, but Bright was pleased that the squad’s strength in depth ensured her injury was able to be managed appropriately. 

She said “We’ve been able to rotate the squad and players have all had minutes and experience in playing in the team.

“I didn’t need to play, so it was good to be able to rest.”

Despite the setback coming only 54 minutes into the tournament, Bright was not alarmed that her FIFA Women’s World Cup could come to a premature end.

The player said “I’ve got quite a calm mindset so I never panicked in that moment. I knew that the medics would do the best they could and make the right decision. I’ve been having the best treatment so I’m good to go now.”

The defender’s return to action could come as soon as Wednesday against Japan, a side that the Lionesses beat 3-1 in this year’s SheBelieves Cup. Despite the win back in March, which Bright also missed through injury, she is expecting a different challenge in Nice, whilst dismissing talk that England are yet to be tested in France.

She added “I think it would be unfair to say this would be our first test. I think we’ve been tested in every game so far.

“Just because teams don’t high press or come at you, it’s a different kind of test. A team sitting in in a low block, that’s hard to break down so we have to find a way to win.

“I think we have been tested, I just think we’re going to come up against a different test against Japan. 

“We always focus on ourselves, we’re always prepared for every game, and ultimately it’s about what we do in that game.”

By Thomas Smith (@mrthomassmith_) – University of Derby Football Journalism Student

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