Keira Walsh and Lucy Bronze believe their time with Barcelona has helped them “drive a different kind of standard” in their preparation for England.
Both right-back Bronze and midfielder Walsh joined the Catalan team last summer, the former before and the latter after they assisted England in winning the Euros.
Following that, they were a part of the Barca side that won the Champions League last month and cruised to a fourth straight domestic league triumph, giving Bronze and Walsh “massive confidence” going into the World Cup, which begins next week.
“My role at Barcelona is different from what it has been in previous teams,” the 31-year-old remarked.
The duty of defending falls much more on my head than it does elsewhere, which is different from England, because every Barcelona player only wants to play with the ball.
“I now have a new perspective on how to play football because of that. Keira seems to share this. And I believe that now, the two of us at England training are setting a new kind of standard that has never been before.
“I believe we were able to add that when we returned to the camps, not necessarily the style of play, but the expectation and the caliber you want from a squad that wins trophies like Champions Leagues and competes with the top players in the world.
“(Winning the Champions League) gives myself and Keira massive confidence – it was her first, even being my fourth (after three with Lyon), it’s something that gives you a lot of confidence going into the World Cup.”
After participating in two runs that ended in the semifinals, 105-cap Bronze will participate in his third World Cup this summer in Australia and New Zealand.
At Canada 2015, where Bronze had her “Chloe Kelly moment” and scored in the last-16 and quarterfinal wins, England lost to Japan 2-1 in the last-four match before finishing third.
The results of the semifinal match between the winners of both competitions, France 2019 and the United States, were identical.
Before winning the first trophy in their history at the 2017 Euros on home soil, England suffered a semi-final loss to the tournament hosts and eventual champions, the Netherlands.
Bronze has previously mentioned how she was “heartbroken” and could not watch the World Cup finals because of it, an emotion she still claims to have.
We’ve been so close in every World Cup I’ve participated in, explained Bronze.
“A VAR judgment and a penalty save made the difference between us and the US on the day that we faced them. That’s two outcomes from one game, and it was quite close.
Bronze has emphasized that despite the fact that she now has international trophy on her resume, her “mentality has always been the same – I think I’ve always known that I’ve been capable of being in an England team that could win something.”
Regarding the United States, whom England most recently defeated 2-1 in a friendly at Wembley last October, Bronze added: “I don’t even think there was a difference between us at the time (at the 2019 World Cup).
“I believe they had a really strong run of form in that competition, similar to what we had in the Euros,” the author said.
“I believe that’s how the World Cups and the Euros operate; the side that is in form typically has, I wouldn’t say luck, but that tiny edge.
“Last year, we had that advantage over every team in Europe. I believe the US had it in several previous competitions.