"I could have queued for a horse show rather than for the World Cup this summer" • Parlay Game

Millie Bright, a Chelsea and England defender, will write articles for the BBC Sport website throughout the season. She and her teammates are looking to retain the Women's Super League title and the national team is trying to win this summer's World Cup in France.

SheBelieves Cup live on the BBCPlaces: Philadelphia, Nashville and Tampa Appointment: February 27-March 05 Blanket: The England matches live on the BBC TV, Connected TV and BBC Sport websites, as well as live commentary and feature stories

You may have heard that I will not participate in the SheBelieves Cup, which will start Wednesday with England against Brazil before facing the United States and Japan.

The reason I do not travel with the team is to to rest and manage a little niggle It's been a while since I did not take the risk of participating in the World Cup this summer.

It's disappointing not to go because I was looking forward to the challenge of a tough tournament against the best players. However, after a busy schedule with Chelsea and a tournament with three successive matches – as well as the trip to the United States – myself, Chelsea and England's head coach Phil Neville decided that we did not want to make anything worse and have a setback. in a year so important.

It's not a new problem, so there is no reason to fear that it will reduce my chances at the World Cup, but we decided that it would be better for me to get treatment for me to have wind in the sails in June.

It has been a stimulus to hear Phil say that I am in his plans for the World Cup, but I would never take anything for granted. I wanted to go to the SheBelieves Cup because I want every workout and every opportunity to play to count, but it's all about seeing the big picture.

The 2017 European Championship was my first major tournament for England, but everyone tells me that the World Cup is a different level. It's the biggest year of my career, so it's important to be smart and professional. The process of access to the World Cup is as important as playing there.

& # 39; Open & # 39; Neville is my type of manager

English coach Phil Neville, right, and the team before an international against Brazil at Meadow Lane in Nottingham last October

Phil obviously played a big role in deciding what was best for me this year, but he's a manager I trust and respect and that I like him because he's a very good person. opened. He is interested in your football but also in your life and I get along very well with him.

This may have surprised him last year when he revealed that he had 30 groups Whatsapp with the teambut I like it because it's a relaxed way to keep in touch with him and other English staff. This means that when you arrive at the camp, you do not need to catch up with you because you are in constant contact with each other.

I would point out that Phil knows the difference between a Whatsapp group and a conversation between two people. My band, for example, will include myself, Phil and other staff from England, which gives them an informal way to send me feedback after my games for Chelsea and England. It also allows me to ask questions too.

Everything is very relaxed and we could discuss the number of minutes I spent in Chelsea, the work I do at the gym or any technical exercise I might be working on. All players have individual goals that we are constantly working on.

This is not overwhelming and there is no pressure to send a message every day, everything is there for the development and maintenance of the relationship.

Phil likes to think that he's a little joker, and in the camps, the atmosphere is good, but he still meets the standards. His mentality is to keep pushing, always asking for more, but that's what we have to continue to build as a team. We hope to go a little further after reaching the semi-finals of the last match. world Cup and Championship of Europe and Phil's winning mentality can certainly help us do that.

Horses were my first love, but I'm happy to have chosen football

Millie Bright on her first pony, Fidget, three

If things had worked differently, I could participate in a horse show this summer rather than prepare for my first World Cup.

Horses have always been a prominent part of my life because my parents have stables near our family home on the outskirts of Sheffield.

My mother started to look after a horse when I was about a year old. They were part of my daily life until I left my house and became a professional footballer at Chelsea in 2014.

Sometimes it was relentless. As a child, I woke up at 6am before going to school. As soon as I get home, I'll take them to the field to train during the weekend shows.

It was difficult and I was often late for school, but I never saw it as a chore and my mother never pressured us to do it. Spending time with horses was also a good place to escape in case of a bad day. So it was good from a mental point of view.

I arrived at a point where I was doing shows at the county level, but it was the dressage that I really liked where, indeed, the horses dance. At one point, I was a groom for Hannah Esberger, who competed for Great Britain and won seven national championship titles. I remember coming home one day and telling my mother that I could ride a Hannah horse worth £ 100,000. I was so delicate about it, because I would be in trouble if it was damaged.

I do not know where I was able to go riding and that's one thing I can always come back to when I retired from football, but the crossroads came into my life when Chelsea wanted to sign me and become a professional footballer in 2013 when I was 20 years old.

Until then I played semi-professionally with the Doncaster Rovers Belles, after attending Sheffield United School of Excellence at the age of 12.

The strange thing is that I actually rejected Chelsea when they called me for the first time but I ended up joining them a year later. Some might say it was risky, but Doncaster had just been relegated from the Super League 1 to women and I did not want to run away.

Bright, left, finally signed for Chelsea in 2014

I did not feel ready to make the leap into full-time professional football either, but a year later, Doncaster finishing second in WSL 2, I received another call and this time, I did not feel like I was going to play. I did not hesitate.

I dreamed of becoming a full time footballer and even though it was difficult to leave the family at home, it was a decision I could not refuse.

The day I left for London, there were hydraulic facilities all over my place. I've always been close to my family and the hard part was leaving my mother.

I consider myself her rock and she was mine, so I felt guilty for not being able to always be there for her, but my family has always been very proud of me. They never doubted me and my mom and dad attended all my games.

They have given me the confidence of being the person I am and, even when I miss them and the horses are back in Sheffield, the move to Chelsea has finally paid off.

Millie spoke with Alistair Magowan of BBC Sport.

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