PA Sport

Bronze wants pizza the action

Bronze wants pizza the action
By PA Sport

02/06/2015 at 17:10Updated

Lucy Bronze wants a large slice of the action for England at the World Cup - after spending her student days devouring cold pizza for breakfast.

Lucy Bronze wants a large slice of the action for England at the World Cup - after spending her student days devouring cold pizza for breakfast.

The Lindisfarne-raised Manchester City Women defender got through university in Leeds, just three years ago, by earning a crust in a fast-food takeaway near her digs.

At the same time she was battling a knee injury, regularly crossing the Pennines for treatment with her club at the time, Everton, and studying for a sports science degree that she began in the United States.

"We all know that women's football hasn't been a great paying career and I was unfortunate when it became full-time and more professional and semi-professional that I got struck down with a lot of injuries," Bronze said.

"Although I was in and around teams like Liverpool and Everton when they were coming into the leagues, I didn't get paid because I was injured.

"And I was at university doing a full-time degree. So I was injured, rehabbing, trying to train, and travelling from Leeds to Liverpool two or three times a week, and I had to do all my studies because I was doing my dissertation.

"I needed a job to pay for petrol money. It was the student dream: I had cold pizza for breakfast and warm pizza at night, and a bottle of Coke to go with it. My diet's changed a little bit since then."

Bronze has become an England regular, when fit. She is coming off more knee trouble but is earning decent money as a full-time player at City, and has convinced Lionesses manager Mark Sampson she is ready to be called into World Cup action.

At the age of 23 she could partner City team-mate Steph Houghton, who captains club and country, in the heart of England's defence, with the opening game against France looming on June 9.

England's defensive and midfield spine will need to be at its most resilient in Canada after appearing a potential weak spot in recent home friendlies against Germany, the United States and China.

Fortunately, Tough is Bronze's middle name.

Lucia Roberta Tough Bronze was born in October 1991 to an English mother and Portuguese father, Diane and Joaquim.

"People always say, 'why don't you double-barrel your name to get Tough-Bronze on your England shirt?'," said Bronze.

"The reason I've got the name is that because my dad's Portuguese, you have your first name and second name, then your mum's maiden name, then your dad's. My mum's maiden name happens to be Tough."

Mum Diane was Bronze's school careers adviser and was hesitant about her daughter aiming for a football career.

"She didn't really take too well to the idea," Bronze said. "It's not that she doesn't like football but she was never into it as a child, and my dad's the same.

"But as a family we're very competitive, not just at sport but education and everything, and if you're good at something we're not pushed, but my mum facilitates me and my younger sister and my older brother at anything we want to do, and anything we have a slight talent at my mum would get the best out of us completely.

"My dad does too, but my mum wears the trousers in that relationship."

Bronze is strikingly ambitious for herself, and for England.

Rather than be grateful for the opportunity of playing at a World Cup, she is focused on capitalising on the chance that lies ahead.

She said: "Sometimes you need to think that rather than needing to pinch ourselves we need to say, 'You know what, we're going to a World Cup and so we should be'.

"We should be going out there to do something really well because we're good players. We need to think that we're capable of achieving these things instead of saying it's a dream.

"We've all got our heads screwed on and we're all ready to do something good."