England - looking to win back-to-back major tournaments - open their World Cup campaign against Haiti in Brisbane on Saturday, before rounding off Group D against Denmark and China

Millie Bright of England looks on during a training session at Spencer Park on July 21, 2023 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Naomi Baker - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

Millie Bright is back to full fitness as England begin their World Cup campaign

Millie Bright has declared herself fit and says she has “nothing to prove” ahead of England’s opening game at the Women’s World Cup.

Bright has not played competitive football since early March, after suffering a knee injury for Chelsea which required minor surgery. But she will lead the Lionesses against Haiti on Saturday, taking the armband in Leah Williamson’s absence.

There were doubts over her fitness levels when the squad was announced at the end of May, but the stand-in skipper has been in full training for weeks now and Sarina Wiegman confirmed she had no injuries in the squad ahead of England’s tournament bow in Brisbane.

“I was always very confident in my recovery,” said Bright. “I’m surrounded by the best people. I’ve been given everything that I needed to be fit. I’m grateful that I’m able to play and super excited to play.

“Everyone has been itching for the tournament to begin. Everyone is ready and raring to go, including me. We’re now just counting down the hours for ourselves.

“I don’t need to prove anything coming back from injury. It’s about the team, not individuals. We want to play as a collective and show what England are about.”

Bright is normally vice-captain under Wiegman, but Leah Williamson’s ACL injury means the Arsenal centre-back is out of the finals. Instead the towering Chelsea centre-half will take the armband but she insists it won’t change the way she acts around the dressing room.

England's defender Millie Bright during a team training session at St George's Park ahead of their women's international friendly football match against Portugal on July 1. England’s defender Millie Bright during a team training session at St George’s Park (


Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

“Things have stayed the same,” Bright added. “I’d like to think Sarina and my teammates would say my mentality and behaviour is the same as normal.

“And yes while there is extra responsibility, we have a very united group and people take care of themselves. Every single day people give 100% and show up to win. We’ve also got a lot of other leaders in the group.

“But my preparation and process is exactly the same.”

Bright will wear armbands advocating for inclusion, Indigenous People and gender equality in the Lionesses’ respective first three World Cup matches, the FA confirmed earlier today. FIFA have sanctioned eight armbands at the finals, but not the rainbow OneLove design that sparked the threat of sanctions being issued to countries, including the England side, at the 2022 men’s World Cup in Qatar.

“I think everything we made a decision on we did as a team,” said Bright. “The decision with the armband took us a while. But as a collective we have gone with what FIFA proposed.

“We thought long and hard about it. But we’ll be wearing the different armbands. We thought it was important to shed on the light on the various causes we feel strongly about as a team.”

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