A MALMESBURY teenager is hoping to follow in the footsteps of England World Cup star Lucy Bronze.

Grace Purnell, of Malmesbury School, has just signed a one-year contract with Bristol City Women’s Under 14s after impressing at a recent trial.

She is also captain of the Malmesbury School football team, made up of mostly boys as there is no girls team but students can play mixed at her age group.

The ambitious 13-year-old will join up with the Robins for the coming season.

Grace is predominantly a centre-back but can also play right back and revealed one of England’s Women’s World Cup stars has inspired her to also play full-back.

“I can play both but I was always a centre-back,” said Grace.

“I really like Lucy Bronze after watching her at the World Cup.

“She inspired me which is why I also like playing right-back.”

Bronze isn’t the only England player Purnell is a fan of.

She is also an admirer of captain Steph Houghton and was lucky enough to meet the Manchester City defender.

“I was playing for another team and we went up to Manchester City as mascots and I got to walk out with Steph which was great,” she revealed.

Purnell was buzzing when she received her offer from City and is now hoping this will set her on her way to living her dream of playing for the Under 17s national team.

“I received the email a couple of weeks ago and I was really pleased,” she said.

“I want to try and get into the Under 17s national team one day.”

Malmesbury School Assistant Headteacher Dan Baker has watched Grace progress and was full of praise for the teenager.

He said: “As a school we are incredibly proud that she got into the U14s at Bristol City and hope that she can push on into the senior squad. She has always been an exceptional talent not only in football but in a wide range of sports and is always very humble about her achievements.

“Testament to how well respected she is, is that she has been captain of her year group football team this year. She is one of only a handful of girls who turn up to training and she is a huge loss when she is unable to play.”