As a stalwart international with one of the most iconic goal celebrations to date, it’s hard not to think of Ellen White when it comes to women’s football. As she mulls over her decorated career, the Manchester City striker gives us an insight into some of her most treasured memories.
With the sport running through her family — her father coached a football academy — White was never destined for anything else. From Arsenal’s scouts picking her out at just eight years old, to her emphatic performances in the 2019 Women’s World Cup, the striker has made a name for herself as one of England’s finest.
White tells GiveMeSport Women about her favourite moments and opens a window into her life as a Man City and England player. She first touched on her favourite goal and proudest moment of her career to date.
“I’ll probably always go back to the goal I scored against Japan in the 2011 World Cup when I lobbed the keeper,” the forward reflected. “It was my first World Cup and my first World Cup goal so it was a really great experience and a great achievement as well.
“My proudest moment would probably be being the captain for England against Denmark. I got to wear the captain’s armband and I also scored two goals in that game. To walk out and lead your country… it’s something that I’ll never forget.”
The world stage
Since her international debut in 2010, White has enjoyed three World Cups, including the historic bronze medal finish in Canada in 2015. She also helped guide England to SheBelieves Cup success in 2019.
As a senior member of the Lionesses set up, she has faced the best of the best on the world stage.
White revealed that the USWNT defence is one of the hardest she has come up against on international duty and paid homage to some specific individuals.
“The American backline is very challenging,” White admitted. “Becky Sauerbrunn and obviously Abby Dahlkemper in the World Cup, they’re very hard to get past and they’re very talented. When we [England] have played Germany and France, they’ve also got ridiculous defenders. Wendie Renard for instance is very challenging to get past.”
But despite the magnitude of talent that stretches around the globe, White was most complimentary of her domestic teammates.
“[Steph] Houghton and Dahlkemper – they’re ridiculous,” she continued. “For club, I’m playing against world class and we’re pushing each other to the limit every day.”
The goal-getter isn’t far off her centurion status as an England international: White boasts 93 senior appearances for her country and has bagged herself 39 goals in that time.
Talent in abundance
White’s time in the Women’s Super League has allowed her to link up with some of the world’s biggest talents. Man City recently welcomed a trio of American stars to the Academy Stadium to bolster their ranks ahead of what is proving to be an exciting league title chase.
Dahlkemper followed USWNT teammates Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis across the pond to play in the sky blue of City. The three have already won the hearts of Manchester and have made a great impact on Gareth Taylor’s striving side.
Mewis in particular is rapidly becoming one of the WSL’s hottest midfield talents. She has five goals in England’s top flight this season and her creativity in the engine room hasn’t gone unnoticed by her teammates.
“She’s extremely talented, technically gifted, brilliant in the air, capable of box-to-box,” White said of the playmaker. “She’s a massive talent for our team and she’s fit in really well and she gives us something different in midfield. Everyone’s been able to see what she’s all about.”
For a striker, creativity in the middle of the park is vital for producing the electrifying performances expected of you week in, week out. White recently enjoyed netting herself a hat-trick as England hosted Northern Ireland in a friendly at St George’s Park.
She has also been on song in the Champions League, with her most recent coming against Fiorentina in the Round of 16.
City and England teammates
White has played with a number of huge names within the sport, including the England legends currently within the Man City camp. The 31-year-old was quick to praise fellow Lionesses Jill Scott and Steph Houghton when asked about the most influential players she has worked with.
“I think Steph would make a very good manager,” White said. “I think Jill would be very good as well. Even Lucy [Bronze] would be a very good manager.”
Teammate Scott recently earned her 150th cap for England. She sported the captain’s armband in the friendly over Northern Ireland and White spoke on the relationship the two have both on and off the pitch.
When asked who the joker of the City squad is, White immediately replied: “I would say Jill but she’s gone to Everton! But I’ll always say Jill, same at England. She’s always wanting to make people laugh and put a smile on their face.”
Scott also made White’s tough selection of her ultimate five-a-side team. Using only players she has worked directly alongside, the striker named Karen Bardsley, Houghton, Scott, Kim Little and Kelly Smith as her chosen dream team.
A WSL icon
White is currently locked in a battle with Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema. The two recently set the new highest amount of goals in the WSL (55), but Miedema has edged in front with her latest goal to mark 56 for herself. The City poacher spoke about this exciting personal competition against one of most clinical strikers in the world.
“It’s a great battle between us both,” White admitted. “She’s a phenomenal player and I just want to concentrate on what I can control and that’s obviously playing for City and contributing in any way I can. Whether that’s goals, assists or just working hard on the pitch for my team.”
White holds the joint-record for most different WSL clubs to score for, with four. After netting for Arsenal, Notts County, Birmingham and Man City, she shows off her pedigree as a proven goalscorer. She has bagged herself a total of 95 goals in 179 appearances across all clubs and competitions.
White’s current focus is on helping City challenge holding league champions Chelsea for this season’s title, as well as asserting their dominance in Europe. The Manchester outfit will also look to retain their FA Cup winners’ status once fixtures resume.