Ellen White: 'The World Cup can bring out the best in me'

Monday 08 Jun 2015
Ellen White scored on her England debut against Austria in 2010

It is the greatest strike of your career. A 20-yard lob against the would-be World Champions in front of 22,000 people. How could you possibly top that goal? Simple. Score a better one.

That is what England Women’s striker Ellen White is hoping to do at the upcoming World Cup in Canada.

The 26-year-old celebrated her return to the game following a year-long injury with a place in Mark Sampson’s Three Lions squad for this summer’s showpiece event.

White played three times at the 2011 World Cup in Germany, her champagne moment coming in the final group game win over Japan, who went on to lift the trophy.

And now she wants to better it.

White said: “That was my best goal ever. Without a doubt. I actually don’t have much recollection of what I did. Karen Carney’s ball in to me was so good but then it was just sort of ‘bang’ and it went in.

“It is my best goal to date but I’d quite like to get a better one now. And what a time to do it – at another World Cup.”

She added: “We all want to do something special in this tournament. We want to make some great memories and make this team go down in history.”

White ruptured her ACL in a pre-season match against Durham in April last year and only returned to action in March, in Notts County’s FA Women’s Cup Fifth Round win over Tottenham, and she scored in the 4-0 win.

The former Arsenal player used the World Cup as motivation during her rehab and she made her long-awaited return to the England fold for the China friendly in April, where she came off the bench to earn her 50th cap.

White said: “I never thought I wouldn’t be fit enough to be in contention for the World Cup. I actually used it as an incentive to get me through all that gym work. It pushed me on.

“I had a number of conversations with Mark during that time. He kept me involved in the group and invited me into a few camps as well, which was nice.

“For me it was about getting fit and healthy and on form for Notts County. That was my main target and then I knew anything could happen from there.

“But I’d convinced myself that I wouldn’t be in the squad. I always think the worst with things like that so it was incredible to get that phone call.

“Getting into any World Cup squad is a massive achievement and this call-up was just as sweet as it was in 2011.

“2011 was a huge learning curve for me. I didn’t actually think I’d play at all so to play in three games and score was an amazing feeling.”

White believes her experience of the last World Cup has left her better prepared for Canada. She says she went to Germany as a naive 22-year-old but now feels stronger for it.

However, White is still haunted by the quarter-final defeat by France, England’s first Group F opponents in Moncton on Tuesday 9 June.

Notts County striker Ellen White

White has scored 17 goals in 51 internationals

The Three Lions have not beaten the French since November 1974 – and White thinks it is time to change that statistic.

She said: “It’s about time we beat them.

“I still think back to that defeat in 2011. I was heartbroken after that game. I was devastated. It was horrible.

“The fact we haven’t beaten them in so long and because they knocked us out in 2011 – that acts as a massive incentive.

“They will be massively up for it and the crowd will probably be on their side, but I actually think that could work in our favour. We can use that to our advantage.

“I’m sure it will be an exciting, full-blooded game. Hopefully we can get the result we need to take us into the next two games.”

After France, England face Mexico on 13 June and Colombia on 17 June.

By Glenn Lavery In Toronto, Canada