Phil Neville likens Lucy Bronze role to Philipp Lahm

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England head coach Phil Neville says Lucy Bronze will continue in her midfield role and has likened her to former Germany full-back Philipp Lahm.

The Lionesses face Norway in a friendly on Tuesday having beaten them 3-0 in the World Cup quarter-finals in July.

Neville says right-back Bronze, 27, is a “risk” worth taking in midfield, having also played there in the 3-3 draw with Belgium on Thursday.

“There will be times she plays right-back,” Neville told BBC Sport.

“But we have a two-year period now where playing Lucy in midfield might be one of the risks we take, where we might have to suffer and that suffering and risk taking get us to where we want to get to, as a better team.

“Pep Guardiola did it with Philip Lahm [at Bayern Munich], and he was voted one of the best right-backs but he put him into midfield.”

Neville said that Bronze, who won Uefa’s Player of the Year the same night as the Belgium game and has been named as a finalist in the Best Fifa Football Awards, would play in midfield against Norway.

He wants her to become more consistent in the role, having first played the Lyon full-back there at the SheBelieves Cup, which England won in March.

Bronze’s move into midfield comes at time when Arsenal’s Jordan Nobbs and Lyon’s Izzy Christiansen are recovering from injury while Manchester City midfielder Jill Scott has been rested.

“We have to have a vision where we have the best possible team,” Neville told BBC Sport’s Jo Currie.

“People will ask why we are doing it, she is the best right-back in the world, but if you are brave enough to take the risk and have buy-in from the player it can be successful.

“She fits the profile and I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t get buy-in from the player.”

Bronze has admitted that she feels “uncomfortable” in midfield, but is happy to embrace the change.

“I’m in my comfort zone at full-back, definitely,” she said. “Without being told what to do I just know where to go.

“But I love a challenge. In midfield I feel uncomfortable. It might not work – I might be terrible in midfield – but it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to.”

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‘Thanks to my daughter for voting for me’

Neville said that the draw with Belgium was a “wake-up call” and he expected another physical test against Norway, who are ranked 12th in the world, seven places below England.

Reflecting on the 3-0 win over the Scandinavian side, he said it was one of the highlights of the World Cup, before the Lionesses were beaten 2-1 in the last four by the United States.

“We don’t want to feel like we did against the USA, that’s three semi-finals where were have suffered that feeling and we are sick of it,” he said.

“To change that momentum, we need to do things a little bit differently, take people, myself, the squad and the staff out of their comfort zones and we have done that on this trip.”

Neville, who has been named as one of the coaches of the year, said it was a proud moment and was a reward for his team’s progress.

“I shouldn’t win the award, United States coach Jill Ellis should, she has won the World Cup,” he said.

“But it’s reward for the style of football we have played, the goals we have scored and the players’ performances.

“I prefer to win the World Cup or Olympic gold medal, but it shows we are heading in right direction and I thank my daughter for wasting money voting for me all the time.”

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