Rather than travel to America with the rest of the group, Lyon defender Bronze will now remain in France for treatment, missing an England camp for the first time since 2015.
The two-time Women’s Champions League winner has been replaced in the squad by uncapped by uncapped 21-year-old Alessio Russo. The Under-21 international is formerly of Brighton and Chelsea, but is currently playing U.S. collegiate soccer with the iconic North Carolina Tar Heels.
Bronze herself once played there, while the UNC programme has also produced some of the most famous names in the women’s game like Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly and April Heinrichs.
In response to being ruled out of next month’s competition, Ballon d’Or runner-up Bronze tweeted, “Disappointed not to be fit for camp. But a good opportunity for some new faces.”
She later added, “Haven’t missed a single camp and been present at every single game for the past 5 years. Gonna have massive FOMO next week.”
Haven’t missed a single camp and been present at every single game for the past 5 years. Gonna have massive FOMO next week
— Lucy Bronze (@LucyBronze) February 26, 2020
But while Bronze’s absence is a blow for England, the bigger picture at the SheBelieves Cup is one of development and experimentation. There is a greater focus on the longer term, with manager Phil Neville looking ahead to the 2020 Olympics and Euro 2021.
Other established stars in Beth Mead and Fran Kirby had already been ruled out of the tournament through injury and illness respectively.
In other SheBelieves Cup news, The Times has revealed that the England squad will be flying to the United States in premium economy seats, rather than business or first class.
The newspaper explains that the late notice organisation of the tournament, which was only confirmed last month, meant that the only business class options would have resulted in splitting the squad across different flights.
It was ultimately decided that a split in travel plans would have proven more disruptive, but journalist Molly Hudson points out that while ‘the men’s team would almost certainly have chartered a private flight, that was not an option for the women.’
England Women were given a private flight home from the 2019 World Cup and have equal access to other facilities at national base St George’s Park, unlike in many other countries, but transport differences will still lead to necessary questions over a gender gap.