As the Women’s Euro Cup approaches, the Lionesses are looking to make an international impact on their own turf. But before that, one of England Women’s iconic players, Ellen White, met Sky Sports’ Sue Smith at her former ground, William Harding Primary School, in Aylesbury.
Before becoming England’s record goalscorer, which she achieved in her 101st match against Latvia earlier this season, the Manchester City star was ready to break boundaries and social stereotypes to be the player she is today.
In an era where there were no women’s soccer teams or leagues to nurture the aspirations of any young woman, White was introduced to soccer by her father, Jon, who ran a soccer academy called ‘Mini Ducks’.
It helped her gain the passion and confidence to join her primary school team and then move on to the Aylesbury United boys team, despite being the only girl. It was rumored that she scored over 100 goals before being discovered by Arsenal at the age of eight.
“I started playing backyard soccer with my dad and brother and sisters,” White said. sky sports Sue Smith, who played 93 games for England. “There really wasn’t any kind of football center growing up, so that’s when my dad put together Mini Ducks.
“My brother was a big influence as far as being in the outfield playing football. He was older than me, but he still enjoyed playing and I used to go see him.
“Being the baby of the family, I would take it everywhere, so I got a lot of my features from them; working hard, playing football and enjoying it.
“They told me I would never play for England”
As White began his career, he faced criticism along the way. Even with the support of her teammates and her family, not many were used to the idea of a female soccer star.
“When I was a little bit younger and on the boys’ team, I remember a lot of the parents saying, ‘Is that a girl on the team? What’s going on?’ White stated.
“When you grow a little bit in our skill set, the pressure to win and want to do well makes coaches not pick you and I think that comes with the nature of the sport.”
But while the negative comments and a few games on the bench were no match for White’s love of the game, at the age of 16, the England hopeful was dealt a devastating blow.
”I was hoping to go to Loughborough Academy when I was 16,” White said. “That’s when they told me I would never play for England because he wasn’t good enough. Not know what to do.
”That’s when I changed schools. I went to a completely different sixth year, changed clubs from Arsenal to Chelsea and completely stepped out of my comfort zone. I just tried something different, which I think helped me!”
Building a legacy for club and country
It seemed to do the trick for White. After joining Chelsea in 2005, White scored 21 goals in 48 appearances, making her Chelsea’s top goalscorer in her three seasons there.
His move to Leeds Carnegie in 2008 was hampered by a ligament injury, but he returned towards the end of the 2008/09 season, scoring five goals in four games.
After that, White did not look back, and in the following season she helped Leeds win the FA Women’s Premier League Cup, scoring twice against Everton in a 3–1 victory in the final.
It was in February 2010 that a 20-year-old white woman made her England debut, four years after being told she would never play for her country. She scored in a 3–1 win against Austria after coming on as a substitute.
While White began what would become an unprecedented international career, he returned to Arsenal in 2010. Not only did he score six goals in 13 appearances in his first season, but he ultimately helped the Gunners win the FA Cup, the Cup the League and the Women’s Cup. Super League Trophies. During her time under Laura Harvey, she won another title and the FA Cup.
White went on to carve her name into England’s women’s hall of fame, even marking her World Cup debut in 2011 with a superb 22-yard strike against Japan.
He went on to enjoy success with England, winning the Cyprus (2013), SheBelieves (2019) and Arnold Clark (2022) cups over the years.
However, all of those achievements paled in comparison to his performance at the 2019 World Cup, where he was instrumental in England’s path to the semi-finals. White scored six goals in the tournament, making her their joint top goalscorer.
But looking back on his stellar career, White admits he never thought he’d play for England, saying: “I never thought I was good enough. I was selected for the junior age groups but I never thought I’d become a senior.” international.
“I think when it happened, it just blew me away.”
‘I still feel weird when you call me a role model’
White’s performances for club and country have helped Leeds, Arsenal, Manchester City and England to glory and in doing so have surely helped inspire other women to pursue a career in football.
After 17 years of racking up goals and trophies, White may not be done yet, with expectations high for Sarina Wiegman’s England squad ahead of the European Championships this summer.
England’s group stage matches have already sold out, further evidence of growing support for women’s football, with White saying: “I still feel weird when you call me a role model. I feel like it’s a huge responsibility and a privilege in the same time that people admire me.
“It’s very exciting that the European Championship is in England and all the games in our group stage have been sold out. Hopefully it will be easy for fans to watch a game. There is incredible talent on display and I hope there will be another massive surge of people. who want to get me involved in football. I really hope everyone gets on board with that.”
When England begin their European Championship campaign on July 6 against Austria at Old Trafford, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see White carry on his legacy once again.
Follow Euro 2022 through Sky Sports
Stay up to date with the latest from Euro 2022 via Sky Sports and Sky Sports News this summer.
Coverage will be provided by Sky Sports WSL presenter Caroline Barker, along with Jessica Creighton and Kyle Walker. For their part, Karen Carney, Sue Smith, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and Laura Bassett will give analysis throughout the tournament.
They will also be joined by experienced England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley and Manchester City defender Esme Morgan.
Pundits and presenters will work from the Sky Sports Women’s Euro 2022 mobile presentation bus, which will follow the Sky Sports News team around the country to the various stadiums where the matches are played.
In addition, Sky Sports’ Essential Football Podcast will change its name for the tournament to Sky Sports Women’s Euros Podcast from June 21. Hosted by Charlotte Marsh and Anton Toloui, it will feature exclusive news and player interviews, as well as robust tournament programming.
Eurocopa 2022: The groups…
Group A: England, Austria, Norway, Northern Ireland
B Group: Germany, Denmark, Spain, Finland
Group C: Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal, Switzerland
Group D: France, Italy, Belgium, Iceland
Eurocopa 2022: The calendar…
Wednesday July 6
Group A: England v Austria – kick-off 8pm, Old Trafford
Thursday July 7
Group A: Norway vs Northern Ireland – kick-off 8pm, St Mary’s
friday july 8
Group B: Spain vs Finland – kick-off 5pm, MK Stadium
Group B: Germany vs Denmark – kick-off 8pm, London Community Stadium
saturday july 9
Group C: Portugal vs Switzerland – kick-off 5pm, Leigh Sports Village
Group C: Netherlands vs Sweden – kick-off 8pm, Bramall Lane
sunday july 10
Group D: Belgium vs Iceland – kick-off 5pm, Manchester City Academy Stadium
Group D: France vs Italy – kick-off 8pm, New York Stadium
monday july 11
Group A: Austria vs Northern Ireland – kick-off 5pm, St Mary’s
Group A: England v Norway – kick-off 8pm, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium
tuesday july 12
Group B: Denmark vs Finland – kick-off 5pm, Stadium MK
Group B: Germany vs Spain – kick-off 8pm, London Community Stadium
Wednesday July 13
Group C: Sweden vs Switzerland – kick-off 5pm, Bramall Lane
Group C: Netherlands v Portugal – kick-off 8pm, Leigh Sports Village
Thursday July 14
Group D: Italy vs Iceland – kick-off 5pm, Manchester City Academy Stadium
Group D: France vs Belgium – kick-off 8pm, New York Stadium
friday july 15
Group A: Northern Ireland v England – kick-off 8pm, St Mary’s
Group A: Austria vs Norway – kick-off 8pm, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium
saturday july 16
Group B: Finland vs Germany – kick-off 8pm, Stadium MK
Group B: Denmark vs Spain – kick-off 8pm, London Community Stadium
sunday july 17
Group C: Switzerland vs Netherlands – kick-off 5pm, Bramall Lane
Group C: Sweden vs Portugal – kick-off 5pm, Leigh Sports Village
monday july 18
Group D: Iceland vs France – kick-off 8pm, New York Stadium
Group D: Italy vs Belgium – kick-off 8pm, Manchester City Academy Stadium
Wednesday July 20
Quarterfinals 1: Winners Group A vs. Runners-up Group B – 8:00pm kick-off, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium
Thursday July 21
Quarterfinals 2: Winners of Group B vs. Group A runners-up – 8:00pm kick-off, London Community Stadium
friday july 22
Quarter Final 3: Group C Winners v Group D Runners-up – kick-off 8:00pm, Leigh Sports Village
Quarterfinals 4: Winners Group D vs. Runners-up Group C – kick-off 8pm, New York Stadium
tuesday july 26
Semi-Final 1: Quarter-Final Winners 1 v Quarter-Final Winners 3 – kick-off 8pm, Bramall Lane
Wednesday July 27
Semi-Final 2: Quarter-Final Winners 2 v Quarter-Final Winners 4 – kick-off 8pm, Stadium MK
sunday july 31
Semi-final winners 1 v Semi-final winners 2 – kick-off 5pm, Wembley