FEMAIL takes a look at the lives of the Lionesses off the pitch
No flashy footballers here! The VERY low-key lives of England’s Lionesses – from Leah Williamson training to be an accountant to Lucy Bronze’s old job at Domino’s – and the proud plus-ones who are their biggest fans
- England’s Lionesses have captured the hearts of the nation following their win
- Among them was captain Leah Williamson, who is training to be an accountant
- Meanwhile Millie Bright almost died of pneumonia when she was just a week old
England’s Lionesses have captured the hearts of the nation following their historic win last night after beating Germany 2-1 at the Euro 2022 final.
But what do we know about Sarina Wiegman’s squad’s top players and their lives away from the pitch?
The team was led by captain Leah Williamson, who is balancing her career in football with training to be an accountant.
She was joined throughout the tournament by Lucy Bronze, who once worked at a Domino’s pizza takeaway, and self declared ‘girly-girl’ Alex Greenwood.
Meanwhile team-mate Georgia Stanway, who is dating Rugby League player Olly Ashall-Bott, also featured in the games – having won high praise from previous England Women’s boss Phil Neville, who has said the Manchester City player could be among the best in the world.
Elsewhere, teammate Millie Bright’s childhood was marred by hospital visits; she was only eight days old when she was diagnosed with pneumonia.
Here, FEMAIL takes a look at the lives of the players when they’re not playing football…
Leah Williamson, a central defender, has been praised for having every attribute: pace, temperament and time on the ball
The 25-year-old, from Milton Keynes, has been playing since she was six and has called it her ‘first love and passion’
The Arsenal star has amassed 200,000 followers on Instagram, where she often posts images of her outings with fellow footballers like Alex Scott (pictured centre)
And in May, she was invited by Gucci to Puglia to witness her first-ever fashion show (pictured, on the trip)
The Duke of Cambridge attended the England’s women football team training session during a visit of their training centre at St George’s Park, in Burton-upon-Trent
Leah Williamson, a central defender, has been praised for having every attribute: pace, temperament and time on the ball.
The 25-year-old, from Milton Keynes, has been playing since she was six and has called it her ‘first love and passion’.
She went on to join Arsenal at the age of nine, having been born into an Arsenal-supporting family.
After watching long jumper Greg Rutherford, who also comes from Milton Keynes, at the 2012 Summer Olympics she briefly considered switching her athletic focus to track and field.
However, luckily for the England squad she stayed focused on her dreams of becoming a footballer.
‘She leads by example and what you see is what you get,’ vice-captain Millie Bright said. ‘She is a very mature individual, both on and off the pitch. She is very calm in the way she leads.
‘It’s been a delight to see her lead the team out and it’s been a big moment for her.’ She’s a very humble person, and player, both on and off the field,’ White told the Scotsman.
‘I think sometimes with a captain, it is not just what you do away from the game – how you act around the team, and the media. And I think Leah is great with that because it isn’t an act – that is just her, and who she is.’
As well as balancing her career as a professional footballer, Leah is also training to be an accountant.
The Arsenal star has amassed 200,000 followers on Instagram, where she often posts images of her outings with fellow footballers like Alex Scott.
And in May, she was invited by Gucci to Puglia to witness her first-ever fashion show.
The captain was also among the footballers who met with the Duke of Cambridge last month and presented him with three football shirts for his children.
Like her team-mate Williamson, Liverpool-born Alex Greenwood, 29, joined a prestigious club at the age of eight, when she signed for Everton
If there is anyone who understands the pressure of performing in a football match it is her boyfriend Jack O’Connell, 28, who plays as a centre-back for Sheffield United (left and right)
Like her team-mate Leah, Liverpool-born Alex Greenwood, 29, joined a prestigious club at the age of eight, when she signed for Everton.
She told The Telegraph: ‘I played up with them [boys] and they treated me like a little sister. They didn’t push me away. Not being disrespectful, but probably because I was just as good as them if not better than them.
‘So for them it was, “Why would we push her away? She’s as good as us”. Maybe I have a different story to other people, but I never struggled or suffered, being a girl. If anything I got respected more because I was a girl.’
She later joined Liverpool, before signing to Manchester United. She is currently with Manchester City.
Alex is known as one of the most glamorous members of the squad, with team-mate Jordan Nobbs previously saying she is ‘very big into her heels, her dresses and her eyelashes’.
In 2013, she revealed she is a ‘girly-girl’ and loves shopping as well as getting her hair and makeup done.
She told Liverpool Echo: ‘I’ve always been a girly girl and I love getting my hair done but that doesn’t mean I can’t play football.’
If there is anyone who understands the pressure of performing in a football match it is her boyfriend Jack O’Connell, 28, who plays as a centre-back for Sheffield United.
The couple met at school and have been together for several years but prefer to keep a low profile on social media.
They recently jetted off to Dubai for a sun-soaked holiday and shared snaps of the five-star experience on Instagram.
However, she tends to keep a low profile on social media, having previously spoken about how difficult she finds online abuse.
She told The Independent that abuse she received after moving from United to rivals City left her ‘wrecked’, adding: ‘I don’t think people were aware of how badly it actually affected me, because I didn’t let my football suffer…
‘Even if your notifications are off, every time you go on social media to engage with your friends or whatever, it’s there. And naturally as a human being, the negative ones stick. Those are the ones that play in your mind.’
Lifelong passion: Arsenal forward Beth Mead, 27, from North Yorkshire, started playing football at the age of six
Talented: Mead moved to Sunderland aged 16 and juggled a professional career with a degree in Sport Development from Teesside University and commitments as a coach to local schoolchildren
Arsenal forward Beth Mead, 27, from North Yorkshire, started playing football at the age of six.
‘I just loved all kinds of sports. Cross country, cricket – anything,’ she told Her Football Show.
‘I used to go to a local Sunday morning session and I’d play with the boys. I loved it from the first minute. My mum was warned that the boys were quite rough, and was asked if I’d be okay. But she said I was rougher than most of the boys.’
After starting out at a team called California Girls, Mead was picked up by the Middlesbrough Centre of Excellence, now known as Middlesbrough RTC.
She moved to Sunderland aged 16 and juggled a professional career with a degree in Sport Development from Teesside University and commitments as a coach to local schoolchildren.
Mead signed with current club Arsenal in 2017, following in the footsteps of England teammate Jordan Nobbs, who was an inspiration to her growing up.
‘She was in the age group above me [at the Centre of Excellence] but was known for playing for the England youth teams and a huge talent,’ Mead said.
‘I followed a similar pathway to her. She was at Middlesbrough, then went to Sunderland and now I’m at Arsenal with her. I told her that I was a stalker – I’m just following her!’
She made her debut for England’s senior team in 2018 and played in the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France. However she missed out on the squad for the 2020 Olympics.
She credited the snub with driving her passion last season and says she now feels more ‘confident’.
‘Hopefully I can take that into the Euros,’ she told the Guardian last month. ‘I’m in a good place, I’m in a good headspace, my football has been good so I’m just trying to channel that energy in the right way.’
Lucy Bronze, 30, knows about hard work – having once worked in a Domino’s pizza takeaway
She did not take the traditional pathway to success and there was a time when the defender, who has dual nationality through her Portuguese father, thought she might never play for the Lionesses
Lucy Bronze, 30, knows about hard work – having once worked in a Domino’s pizza takeaway.
She did not take the traditional pathway to success and there was a time when the defender, who has dual nationality through her Portuguese father, thought she might never play for the Lionesses.
She attended soccer camps in America with former US women’s coach Anson Dorrance, who later signed her to play for the University of North Carolina. Dorrance wrote to the FA as well as clubs in England to try and convince them of Bronze’s ability.
She previously explained: ‘I was 12-years-old and Anson said: “When you’re old enough we want you to play for the university, you’re going to be such a good player”, and he even wrote to a couple of people in England and told them about me. It kind of fell on deaf ears a bit, no one really got back to him. They might potentially be regretting that now!
‘To come from there, and take what is not considered the normal way, and make it to the top, makes everything I’ve done even more special. It makes my family even more proud and I can pat myself on the back a little bit harder for it.’
Bronze has now capped 88 times by England and won the Silver Ball at the 2019 World Cup – the award which recognises the second-most outstanding player at the tournament.
She has played for City and Liverpool, and went abroad with Lyon for three years. The experienced full back then returned to City in 2020.
Overall, she won five trophies across both stints, having lifted the Women’s Super League, two FA WSL Cups and two Women’s FA Cups.
Last month, defender Bronze completed her medical and penned a two-year deal to seal her sensational switch to Barcelona.
Born in Chesterfield in the East Midlands region of England, Millie Bright spent her youngest years immersed in equestrianism
She began playing football at the age of nine, and decided to join the local team after seeing a friend play for the Killamarsh Dynamos
Born in Chesterfield in the East Midlands, Millie Bright’s childhood was marred by hospital visits.
She was only eight days old when she was diagnosed with pneumonia and at one point she was in and out of hospital every other day as a result of terrible asthma and a whooping cough which did not subside until after her 14th birthday.
‘It was really quite bad,’ Bright has previously said about her health problems.
‘Eventually I had a steroid machine at home to help me but before I was old enough for that I had to get an ambulance whenever I was having an attack in the night. That would happen several times a week.
‘Getting older, my asthma has settled down a little bit now, but back then I just had to decide whether I would let it stop me playing or not.’
Millie, a keen equestrian, began playing football at the age of nine, and decided to join the local team after seeing a friend play for the Killamarsh Dynamos.
She was later scouted by Sheffield United and joined their academy team until age 16 before moving to Doncaster Rovers Belles in 2009.
In December 2014, Bright signed with Chelsea ahead of the 2015 season where she remains today.
In her downtime, Bright, who lives in Surrey, enjoys family time or dog walks with her partner Levi, and says she isn’t fussed by the excess that comes with a footballing career.
She prefers casual clothes to big name brands, saying: ‘I don’t want young girls to think that you become a footballer and need expensive clothes to be validated.’
Bright, who has been barred from horse riding by insurers, is also invested in her charity work and is an ambassador for the children’s charity Make-A-Wish.
Georgia Stanway has won high praise from England Women’s boss Phil Neville, who has said the Manchester City player could be among the best in the world (pictured right, Georgia, and left, team-mate Leah Williamson)
Rising star: New Bayern Munich forward Georgia was the youngest player in England’s World Cup squad three years ago but has already proved herself a natural leader and is considered an integral part of the team
She is currently signed to Manchester City, whom she joined as an 18-year-old from Blackburn Rovers (pictured right, Georgia with a friend)
In 2016, she was nominated for Young Sports Personality of the Year. It was the first in a string of nominations for the striker, who has gone on to be named the UEFA Women’s Champions League squad in 2018 and PFA Women’s Young Player of the Year in 2019
Sports power couple: England’s Georgia Stanway with Rugby League player Olly Ashall-Bott
Showing up to support: Stanway turns out to cheer on her rugby-playing beau when her schedule allows (as seen above)
Born in Barrow-in-Furness, Georgia Stanway, 23, has been praised for her skills on the pitch for years.
She comes from a sporting family. One brother, JP, plays football for Holker Old Boys in the North West Counties League and another, Wyll, appears almost as frequently in the Barrow Evening Mail as she does, with his cricketing performances for Furness.
She credits competition with the two in the garden and on the beach as key to her development, as well as her Blackburn manager AJ Goodwin.
Having grown up idolising Alan Shearer, she moved away from her hometown aged 16 to pursue her dream of playing football.
Her coaches at City, where she was signed as an 18-year-old from Blackburn Rovers, say it is Stanway’s capacity to perform on any occasion which contributes to the stardust quality.
Stanway’s mother, Joanne, tells of one pre-season at Blackburn in which the then 15-year-old felt her goal scoring was rusty, after she had missed a few one-on-ones in a friendly.
Stanway put her mother in goal and, by her own account, she finished the session ‘black and blue, despite trying to dodge rather than save them’.
In 2016, she was nominated for the BBC’s Young Sports Personality of the Year.
It was the first in a string of nominations for the striker, who has gone on to be named the UEFA Women’s Champions League squad in 2018 and PFA Women’s Young Player of the Year in 2019.
Phil Neville hailed her skills in 2019, saying: ‘If she keeps her feet on ground, keeps working hard, and keeps listening, she is going to be one of the best players in world football.’
The football star also shares a love of sport with her boyfriend: Rugby League player Olly Ashall-Bott, 24.
Originally from Cheshire, Ashall-Bott currently plays for Toulouse Olympique in the Betfred Super League.
While the pair, who met in March 2018, seem very settled, they don’t plan to start a family any time soon.
The Mirror reports that despite many of Olly’s friends getting married, he and Georgia don’t have marriage or children in their immediate future.
During lockdown Olly and Georgia got into fishing to keep themselves busy, and the pair still enjoy their hobby together now.
Glamorous football player Ella Toone has 88k followers on Instagram and regularly shares snaps of her nights out and training sessions
The Manchester United player previously played for Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers, and has represented England at under-17, under-19 and under-21 level
After leaving school, whilst playing for Manchester United, she enrolled onto a Level 3 Extended Diploma Sport Science course at Wigan and Leigh College
She may be one of the youngest members of the team, but 21-year-old Ella Toone, from Manchester, is used to representing the country on an international stage.
The Manchester United player and fan first played for her club as a girl before returning four years ago following stints at Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers.
She has represented England at under-17, under-19 and under-21 level.
After leaving school, whilst playing for Manchester United, she enrolled onto a Level 3 Extended Diploma Sport Science course at Wigan and Leigh College.
The glamorous football player has 88k followers on Instagram and regularly shares snaps of her nights out and training sessions.
She still finds time to watch Manchester United at home and away.
‘I just love going and supporting; it’s been a part of me since I was a little girl. We get tickets for home games for if we’re not training,’ she said.
‘I’ve got a little source at the club who sorts me out away tickets but I’m not telling any of the girls that because it’s just me.’
Ellen White and her husband Callum Convey have been together since their university days
Ellen posted a sweet tribute to Callum on his birthday in 2018 saying ‘think I will keep you forever’
The couple married in Aylesbury in 2014 after getting engaged a year earlier
England’s star striker Ellen White is married to sports development officer Callum Convery.
The pair met while they were both studying at Loughborough University and got engaged in 2013 before tying the knot the following year in a barn in Aylesbury.
Callum originally worked for the Nottingham Football Association, but when his wife signed for Manchester City and the pair moved up north he switched jobs.
Two years ago the pair committed themselves to completing a mammoth sporting challenge in support of The Darby Rimmer MND Foundation.
Ellen ran and walked a total of 150 miles in 30 days while Callum committed to running 150 miles during the same time period.
The charity was set up by husband of Lioness Steph Houghton Stephen Darby and Chris Rimmer, who are both living with the degenerative illness.
On Callum’s birthday in 2018 Ellen posted a sweet tribute to her husband on Instagram.
She wrote: ‘Happy Birthday to my favourite husband. The guy who let me take two kittens home instead of one. The guy who travels the world to support me and jumps a fence to kiss me. Think I will keep you forever.’
Ellie Butler, who plays for Wolverhampton Wanderers, recently took a trip to Amsterdam with her beau Lauren Hemp
Ellie and Lauren are often featured on each other’s Instagram accounts, with Ellie recently posting photos of her 20th birthday celebrations
Lauren Hemp, 21, and Ellie Butler, 20, often film funny dances together on TikTok
England and Manchester City striker Lauren Hemp, 21, is dating fellow footballer Ellie Butler, who plays for Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Ellie, who has been in the stands cheering on Lauren since the beginning of the tournament, posted photos of herself with her girlfriend at the end of key matches on Instagram.
Just before England’s semi-final match against Sweden kicked off Ellie, who is also a striker, posted a video of herself in the stands supporting her girlfriend once again as they sailed to victory with a stunning 4-0 win.
Lauren is a frequent feature on Ellie’s Instagram account, with the pair celebrating Ellie’s 20th birthday together at a fancy restaurant.
While it is not known exactly how long they have been dating the pair clearly have lots of fun together, often filming dances with each other on TikTok.
Jill Scott (right) and her fiancée Shelly Unitt have been together for around four years
Shelly and Jill own a coffee shop, Boxx 2 Boxx coffee, together in Manchester
Midfielder Jill Scott, who also plays for Manchester City, is engaged to Shelly Unitt.
The pair, who have been together for around six years, own the Boxx 2 Boxx coffee shop in Manchester together.
As the sister of former Lionesses player Rachel Unitt, Shelly has long followed the England Women’s team around the world supporting her loved ones at matches.
Scott, 35, announced her engagement to Shelly, 37, two and a half years ago in a sweet Instagram post showing off her diamond ring.
Posting on Instagram over Christmas in 2020, Jill said she and Shelly had wanted to host an engagement party for their friends and family but lockdown meant they would have to wait.
During lockdown Jill posted photos of the couple out together on their daily walks in the countryside.
Millie and Rachel spent last Christmas together during lockdown, with Rachel suggesting a difficult festive period was made much better for having Millie by her side
Millie and Rachel recently went to a fancy dress party in matching ‘goth’ outfits
Lioness and US National Women’s Soccer League player Rachel Daly is dating fellow footballer Millie Turner.
Millie, who plays for Manchester United, has also been capped for England as part of the Lioness squad, and has been pictured training with her girlfriend in the past.
The couple have a long-distance relationship while Millie remains in the UK playing for Manchester United, but according to her Instagram, she finds plenty of time to travel to Texas and see her girlfriend.
Photos show the pair sitting together at the beach and making a fuss of Rachel’s rescue dog.
During lockdown, the couple spent lots of time together, with Rachel posting a picture of the two of them on Christmas Day.
She wrote: ‘The hardest Christmas made as special as it could’ in an apparent reference to spending the festive period away from their families.
After England’s 4-0 win over Sweden, Rachel donned a cowboy hat imprinted with the England flag before strutting around the pitch to celebrate.
Posting a video of her girlfriend on Twitter, Millie wrote: ‘Guys if anyone else has anymore videos of Rach dancing please send them me cos I am laughing my head off.’
She added: ‘You can take a girl out of Texas but you can’t take the Texas out of a girl.’
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