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Men's Nike Elite Joe Theismann Washington Redskins Black Jersey: NFL Pro Line Gold Collection #7 Lucy Bronze may have grown up in north Northumberland and have the accent to prove it but her olive skin suggests a southern European heritage. “My dad’s Portuguese, from Lisbon,” says Mark Sampson’s right-back, who looks set to be a star of Euro 2017. “My mum, who is English, met him in Faro and she’ll make sure he’s supporting England on Thursday night. He’ll be told who to support.” Bronze will run out against her father Joaquin’s homeland in Tilburg knowing that the Lionesses require a point, at most, Authentic Brandon Marshall Womens Jersey to finish top of Group D before the knockout phase – and wondering what might have been had she accepted an invitation to represent Thursday night’s opponents. “I was asked to play for them on Facebook,” says Bronze, who spent part of her childhood living off the north-east coast on Holy Island, otherwise known as Lindisfarne. “A woman called Mónica Jorge, who’s now the head of women’s football in Portugal, got in touch. “She must have watched an England youth game I was playing in and heard it mentioned that I was half-Portuguese. She got in touch with my mum and dad on Facebook and basically said: ‘Obviously, it’s a long shot as Lucy’s playing for England’s junior teams but if there’s ever a chance she might want to play for Portugal we’d more than welcome her into the squad and develop her.’” Jorge may not have been overly optimistic yet the prospect of Bronze switching allegiances was not quite as remote a possibility as she imagined. “I was about 16 at the time and I didn’t break into the England senior team until I was 21,” the 25-year-old Manchester City defender says. “Before then it hadn’t looked on the horizon. “In the end I only broke into the squad for the 2013 Euros because there were a lot of unfortunate injuries and it felt like I’d just been chucked in. Authentic Andrew Quarless Womens Jersey Hope Powell [Sampson’s predecessor] said: ‘We’ve got a few players injured, you’re the next one in.’ So I didn’t really feel like I was properly in the squad. “It got close to the point where I was thinking: ‘I just want to play international football and I’m just as much Portuguese as I’m English.’ It wouldn’t have felt like a disservice to England. But then the managers changed, Brent Hills [the interim head coach] played me and Mark’s played me.” With Portugal the tournament’s bottom-ranked team and England among the favourites to lift the trophy, Bronze has no regrets before what should, nonetheless, be an evocative evening in the southern Netherlands against a side still in with a chance of reaching the quarter-finals. “I’ve never faced Portugal before,” she says. “But I know two of their players. I’ve been quite close to Amanda Da Costa because I played with her at Liverpool. She was in the same situation as me – she was American but with Portuguese parents – and we used to joke that we’d go to play for Portugal together if we didn’t get the chance with the USA or England. “Amanda’s ended up deciding on Portugal and I’ve stuck with England. At the end we’ll maybe swap shirts; it would be nice to have a Portugal shirt. I also know Ana Borges, who played for Chelsea, but her English isn’t fantastic so I’ve spoken to her in Portuguese a few times.” Bronze is too modest to describe herself as fluent but she will be able to understand the chatter between Thursday night’s opponents. “My brother was born in Portugal and we were brought up to be bilingual,” she says. “Dad used to speak to us in Portuguese but we always replied in English. That’s probably why I’m not very comfortable speaking Portuguese.” Although “not a cricket fan” she has been inspired by the example set by England’s women cricketers in winning the World Cup. “A lot of our girls are friends with some of the cricketers,” she says. “And we share a lot of ideas and methods about building a team and having a winning mentality with the cricket girls, as well as with all sorts of other women’s sports teams.”,53235

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