As the women’s euro approaches, the Lions are seeking international influence on their own turf. But before that, Ellen White, one of England’s most prestigious female athletes, met Smith of Sky Sports at her old stumping ground, William Harding Primary School, in Ilesbury.
Before she became the England women’s record goal-scorer – which she achieved in her 101st cap against Latvia earlier this season – the Manchester City star was ready to break the boundary and social stereotype that she is today’s player.
In an age when there were no women’s football teams or leagues to nurture the aspirations of any young woman, White was introduced to football by her father, John, who ran a football academy called ‘Mini Ducks’.
It helped her gain the passion and confidence to join her elementary school team and then move on to Alesbury United’s men’s team – even as a single girl. It was rumored that he scored more than 100 goals before being scouted by Arsenal at the age of eight.
“I started playing soccer in the garden with my father, brothers and sisters,” White said. Sky Sports’ Smith won 93 caps for England. “There weren’t really any kind of football centers growing up, so when my dad set up mini docks.
“My brother had a big influence on playing football in the garden. He was older than me but he also enjoyed playing and I used to go and see him.
“Being a family kid, I take it everywhere, so I got a lot of my qualities from them; working hard, playing football and having fun.”
‘I was never allowed to play for England’
As White began her career, she faced criticism along the way. Even with the support of her teammates and family, many were not used to the idea of a female star in football.
“When I was a little younger and on the boys’ team, I remember a lot of parents would say, ‘Is there a girl on that team? What’s going on?’ Seto explained.
“When you get a little older in our skill set, the pressure to win and the coaches who want to do better don’t pick you up and I think it comes down to the nature of the game.”
But when negative comments and some games on the bench matched White’s love of the game, at the age of 16, optimistic England suffered a devastating blow.
“I was hoping to go to Loughborough Academy when I was 16,” White said. “I was told at the time that I would never play for England because I was not good enough. I did not know what to do.
“Then I changed schools. I moved to a completely different sixth form, changed clubs from Arsenal to Chelsea and I went completely out of my comfort zone. I just tried something different – that helped me!
Building a legacy for the club and the country
It seemed to do the trick for the whites. Since joining Chelsea in 2005, White has scored 21 goals in 48 games, making him the top scorer for Chelsea in three seasons there.
Her transfer to Leeds Carnegie in 2008 was hampered by a ligament injury, but she returned at the end of the 2008/09 season, scoring five goals in four games.
Since then, White has not looked back, and the following season she helped Leeds win the FA Women’s Premier League Cup, scoring twice in a 3-1 win over Everton in the final.
It was in February 2010 when a 20-year-old White made his England debut – four years later he was told he would never play for his country. She came on as a substitute to win 3–1 against Austria.
When White began a record-breaking international career, she returned to Arsenal in 2010. She not only scored six goals in 13 games in her first season, but eventually helped the Gunners win the FA Cup, League Cup and women’s football. Super League Trophy. During the tenure of manager Laura Harvey, she managed to win another title and the FA Cup.
White is in the process of making her name in the England Women’s Hall of Fame, and also made her World Cup debut in 2011 with a 22-yard strike against Japan.
She continued to enjoy success with England, and as the years went by she won the Cyprus (2013), the Shebelives (2019) and the Arnold Clarke Cup (2022).
However, all those achievements faded in comparison to his performance in the 2019 World Cup, where he was decisive in the semi-finals against England. White scored six goals in the tournament, making him the joint top scorer.
But looking back on her illustrious career, White admits she never thought she would play for England, saying: “I never thought I was good enough. I was selected for the young age group, but I never thought of becoming a senior international.
“I think when it happened, it blew my mind.”
‘I still find it strange when you call me a role model’
White’s performances for the club and the country have helped to glorify Leeds, Arsenal, Manchester City and England, and in doing so, have certainly helped inspire other women to pursue careers in football.
After racking up 17 goals and trophies, White may have yet to meet them, including high expectations for Sarina Wigman’s England squad ahead of the domestic Euro this summer.
England’s group stage games have already developed – further evidence of growing support for women’s football – and White said: “I still find it strange when you call me a role model. I think it’s a great responsibility and privilege that people look at me at the same time. .
“It’s very exciting that the Euros are in England and all our group games are sold out. Hopefully this game will be easy for fans to watch. There’s some incredible talent in the show and I hope there will be another big increase in people who want to get involved in football.” I really hope everyone jumps on the board with it. ”
When England begin their Euro campaign against Austria at Old Trafford on July 6, it will come as no surprise that White will once again carry on his legacy.
Follow Euro 2022 across Sky Sports
Keep up with all the latest information from Euro 2022 on Sky Sports and Sky Sports News this summer.
Coverage will be anchored with Sky Sports WSL presenters Caroline Barker, Jessica Creighton and Kyle Walker. Meanwhile, Karen Carney, Sue Smith, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and Laura Bassett will give analysis throughout the competition.
He will be joined by veteran 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 to various stadiums playing games across the country.
In addition, Sky Sports’ required football podcast will be rebranded for competition in the Sky Sports Women’s Euro Podcast from June 21. Hosted by Charlotte Marsh and Anton Tolui, it will feature exclusive news and player interviews in addition to a strong program lineup around the tournament.
Euro 2022: Groups
Group A: England, Austria, Norway, Northern Ireland
Group B: Germany, Denmark, Spain, Finland
Group C: Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal, Switzerland
Group D: France, Italy, Belgium, Iceland
Euro 2022: Table
Wednesday, July 6
Group A: England v Austria – Starts at 8pm at Old Trafford
Thursday, July 7
Group A: Norway v Northern Ireland – 8pm, starting in St. Mary’s
Friday, July 8
Group B: Spain v Finland – Starts at 5pm, Stadium MK
Group B: Germany v Denmark – Starts at 8pm at London Community Stadium
Saturday, July 9
Group C: Portugal v Switzerland – starting at 5 pm, Leh Sports Village
Group C: Netherlands v Sweden – 8pm, starting from Bramall Lane
Sunday July 10
Group D: Belgium v Iceland – Starts at 5pm at Manchester City Academy Stadium
Group D: France v Italy – Starts at 8pm at New York Stadium
Monday, July 11
Group A: Austria v Northern Ireland – starting at 5pm, St. Mary’s
Group A: England v Norway – Starts at 8pm at Brighton & Hove Community Stadium
Tuesday, July 12
Group B: Denmark v Finland – starting at 5 pm, Stadium MK
Group B: Germany v Spain – 8pm at the London Community Stadium
Wednesday July 13th
Group C: Sweden v Switzerland – 5 pm, starting in Bramal Lane
Group C: Netherlands v Portugal – 8pm, starting from Lei Sports Village
Thursday, July 14
Group D: Italy v Iceland – Starts at 5pm at Manchester City Academy Stadium
Group D: France v Belgium – Starts at 8pm at New York Stadium
Friday July 15th
Group A: Northern Ireland v England – 8pm, starting at St. Mary’s
Group A: Austria v Norway – 8pm, starting at Brighton & Hove Community Stadium
Saturday, July 16
Group B: Finland vs. Germany – starting at 8pm, Stadium MK
Group B: Denmark v Spain – 8pm at the London Community Stadium
Sunday July 17
Group C: Switzerland v Netherlands – 5 p.m., starting at Bramall Lane
Group C: Sweden v Portugal – starting at 5 pm, Leh Sports Village
Monday July 18th
Group D: Iceland v France – Starts at 8pm at New York Stadium
Group D: Italy v Belgium – Starts at 8pm at Manchester City Academy Stadium
Wednesday, July 20
Quarter Final 1: Winners Group A vs. Runners-up Group B – 8pm, starting at Brighton and Hove Community Stadium
Thursday, July 21
Quarter Final 2: Winners Group B vs. Runners-up Group A – 8 p.m., London Community Stadium
Friday July 22nd
Quarter Final 3: Winners Group C vs. Runners-up Group D – 8 p.m., Leh Sports Village
Quarter Final 4: Winners Group D vs. Runners-up Group C – 8 p.m., starting at New York Stadium
Tuesday, July 26
Semifinal 1: Winners Quarterfinal 1 vs. Winners Quarterfinal 3 – Kick off at 8 p.m., Bramal Lane
Wednesday, July 27
Semifinal 2: Winners Quarterfinal 2 vs. Winners Quarterfinal 4 – Kick off at 8 p.m., Stadium MK
Sunday July 31
Winner Semifinal 1 v Winner Semifinal 2 – Beginning at 5 p.m., Wembley