Faye White knows just how easy it is to forget fellow England star Lucy Bronze is still only 25 years old.
The Berwick-born defender burst into international football when just 21 and, with 40 caps already to her name, goes into UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 with the perfect mix of youth and experience.
That’s at least the view of the former England captain.
White and Bronze’s international careers narrowly missed crossing paths, though that hasn’t stopped the Arsenal legend being full of admiration for the Manchester City star – and with good reason.
Under the tutelage of Mark Sampson, Bronze has gone from strength to strength to even be thought of as one of the best in the world in her position, including by her manager himself.
Now those claims are to be put to the test in her maiden European Championships, singled out as one of the ones to watch – a prediction White is struggling to disagree with.
“Lucy has developed massively, she burst onto the scene at the World Cup with some fantastic goals,” said the 39-year-old, speaking at the launch of The FA’s Girls’ Football Week – Euro Celebration.
“And as a wide right-back or winger, or player on the left, she’s such an integral player in Mark’s squad.
“Lucy is such an athlete, gives the team so much power and strength, and comes up with some great goals at vital times, she’s a real asset in that team and is so important in their success.
“Lucy could be one of the best in the world in that position, she’s got some tough competition and we’ll see that in the Euros, but for her, first and foremost, it’s about playing and playing well for her country.”
England are seen as one of the favourites for the final, with Scotland the first hurdle in their challenge, on Wednesday, while Spain and Portugal also occupy Group D in the Netherlands.
Sampson’s side also have tournament form having finished third in 2015’s World Cup – two years after an early Euro exit – but White feels it is success with the club that is just as important.
Three FA Women’s Super League titles – split between Liverpool and Manchester City – an FA WSL Cup and SSE Women’s FA Cup crown suggests Bronze has that in abundance.
Confidence is therefore a notable asset of the versatile Lioness, but it’s not always been that way for a player who has battled injury more times than she cares to remember.
“She had a lot of injuries early on but maybe that’s helped her – she’s got a lot of desire because she’s been through those hard times, she relished every time she plays and does all she can to keep hold of that opportunity,” added White, who is helping support The FA’s Gameplan for Growth pledge to double the number of girls and women playing football by 2020, Girls’ Football Week – Euro Celebrations.
There are currently over 168 partners across the country set to deliver these sessions, with The FA welcoming more to sign up in the coming weeks.
“She’s had a lot of success, it’s important to be performing well for your club before a major tournament.
“You have to feel confident in the way you’re playing and free from injury, she’s getting a good run of games and has been part of a Manchester City team that is winning trophies.
“All those players at City should be confident with the England hat now firmly on.”
To find out more about Girls’ Football Week – Euro Celebrations and register your involvement, visit: www.TheFA.com/ForGirls