Women's Senior
Women's Senior

In-form Ellen White is ready to make an impression on new Lionesses head coach

Sunday 21 Feb 2021
White arriving at St. George's Park to meet Hege Riise for the first time

England and Manchester City striker Ellen White sat down to discuss meeting Hege Riise for the first time and bringing some of the Manchester City magic to the international fold. 

Having been a full international since 2010, White is no stranger to greeting new coaches and her haul of 92 caps suggests she's not bad at impressing them either. 

The 31-year-old striker has been in scintillating form this season, becoming the all-time top scorer in the Barclays FA Women's Super League during as City battle for the league title. 

But she hasn't done it alone and credits teammates Chloe Kelly and Lauren Hemp, both included for in the squad for the friendly against Northern Ireland on Tuesday for helping her hit her finest form this season. 

Now the front three have the opportunity to impress Riise on camp and stake their claims for starting spots on the international scene too. 

Chloe Kelly and Lauren Hemp have been instrumental in helping White climb the goalscoring charts this season

What's it like to meet a new head coach and how much are you looking forward to working with Hege?

It’s really exciting. I’m more experienced now in terms of having been led by different managers and their philosophies both with my clubs and England.

For me it’s going to be about training hard, playing well for Manchester City and trying to lead by example.

I love playing for my country - I’ve said that so many times - so it’s just a case of working hard and doing things that Hege likes to be part of her England team.

What she has achieved in her career is incredible so to be led by someone who has won a hell of a lot, as she has, that is only going to bode well for us.

How has your role within the squad changed over the years and how do you expect to be used by the new head coach?

As I’ve got older and more experienced I’ve tried to adapt but also to lead by example and help the younger players. I want them to come and talk to me and I want to encourage them because we have some incredibly talented young players in the international squad at the moment.

They all have extremely bright futures ahead of them so I want them to be able to express themselves and feel comfortable not just as a player, but as a person too. Hopefully what I do on the pitch in terms of attitude and professionalism speaks for itself too.

Two of those young players are your Manchester City teammates Chloe Kelly and Lauren Hemp - could we be seeing you three line up for England as well as Manchester City? 

To have Chloe and Lauren either side of me at City is just a dream come true to be honest. The talent they’ve got, the way they are playing and the way our relationship together is building is just fantastic. It’s not just us three though, there’s ten of us from City in this squad and we are all good players so hopefully that is going to help us on the international stage.

Jill Scott is somebody you know well and could be in line to make her 150th appearance against Northern Ireland - can you try and put that achievement into context?

It’s phenomenal what Jill has achieved. The longevity of her career and what she does to perform at the highest level is no small feat.

To make 150 caps is the result of hard work but more than that she has helped drive the game on and inspire young boys and girls and even adults to love the game.

From a personal perspective I feel very privileged to have been part of her journey with England and also with Manchester City. She’s an amazing person and also a great friend so I’m just so pleased for her. And she has more in the tank.

White and Jill Scott celebrating during the 2011 FIFA World Cup

How easy is it to leave your Manchester City hat at the door when you arrive on camp? Especially when there is such a competitive title race brewing?

It can be quite challenging when you spend such a long period of time with your club and of course, the title race is getting really interesting now.

The league is so competitive and of course we want to win it this year but at the same time I have so much respect for all the players and it’s a privilege to play both against them, and alongside them.

To succeed in international football you need to put all that to one side and focus on the here and now!

By Tom Dean