A dream debut
Friday, 21 May, 2010
Ellen White reflects on her first start and a goal in Malta.
By Tony Leighton
Leeds Carnegie striker Ellen White capped off a landmark week in her life with a goal on her first England start – then set her sights on firmly establishing herself in the squad as Hope Powell’s team look to qualify for the 2011 World Cup finals.
Six days after sitting the final exam of her Sports Science degree course at Loughborough University, where she has been combing her studies with football at the University-based National Player Development Centre, White’s fine goal in Malta helped England to a 6-0 qualifying group victory that maintained their 100 per cent record.
“It’s been quite a week,” said the 21-year-old former Chelsea player. “It was great to finish off my degree, although it was a tough exam on nutrition that I sat. It finished off a wonderful three years for me – the Player Development Centre has been my life in that time and it’s helped me enormously in both footballing and educational terms.
“Now I’m hoping to work in health promotion but also to go as far as I can in football. Getting into the England senior squad this season has been great and I was lucky enough to score on my debut when I went on as substitute against Austria. And then to score on my first start was brilliant – although I could have had five goals before I finally put the ball in the net!
“We should have beaten Malta by a wider margin, but getting three points was the most important thing so we achieved our main aim. Hopefully now we can go on to qualify for next year’s Finals and it would be fantastic to be involved if we get there, but I can’t think that far ahead – I have to keep on working, trying to impress every time I’m given a chance and hopefully keep my place in the squad.”
White is hoping her display in Ta’Qali will earn her a place in the squad for next month’s key qualifying fixture against group leaders Spain, where a victory would put England within touching distance of winning the group to give themselves a good seeding for the Play-Offs to qualify for Germany 2011.
That would round off a tremendous season for the young striker, who hit two goals as Leeds beat Everton 3-1 to win the Premier League Cup before breaking into the England side with two substitute appearances ahead of Thursday’s game in Malta.
“I’ve really enjoyed this season,” said White. “It’s been great playing for Leeds, but sadly we won’t be in the Super League next year and it’s my ambition to play in the League. That’s something I’m not thinking too much about at the moment, though – I’m concentrating right now on doing my best for England and hopefully I’ll be in the squad for the match in Spain.”