Published 26 November 2021 5 min read
Ellen White

Playing for England still gives White goosebumps 99 caps in

Written by:

Frank Smith

Ellen White discusses the possibility of reaching 100 caps and potentially breaking England's goalscoring record in the next few days

Ellen White may be on the verge of winning her 100th senior England cap and be within two goals of matching the Lionesses’ all-time top goalscorer record but the striker says playing for her country still gives her goosebumps.

White has 99 caps to her name and has scored 44 goals in that time, just two less than the current England women’s senior team record goalscorer Kelly Smith.

The Manchester City striker could have the chance to reach her century of England senior team caps against the same country who she faced on her debut and scored her first goal against in Austria back in 2010, with the two sides meeting tomorrow at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light.

Tickets are still available for the game, costing £15 for adults, £5 for concessions and £2.50 for those under-16.

But White is the first to stress that her selection is not guaranteed.

She said: “I never want to presume anything and obviously if selected then it would be an incredible achievement. I have said to the girls who have reached 50 caps that it is such an amazing achievement to get any caps for England.

Ellen White is currently on 44 England women's senior team goals
Ellen White is currently on 44 England women's senior team goals

“When you look at the players who have gone before me and the players that I am currently playing with, the likes of Jill Scott who have reached more than 150 and Fara Williams who has the most caps, then it is such an achievement to reach that amount of caps. So for me, if I was to be selected, then it would be an amazing achievement.

“I just don’t want to presume anything. It is a great achievement and to be alongside some of those people who have reached that milestone is amazing because there are players who were phenomenal for England but didn’t managed to quite get to 100 caps. It would be amazing if I can.”

White started playing football in her hometown of Aylesbury at a session run by her dad at the age of five before joining Aylesbury Town’s boys’ team for a couple of years.

By the age of eight the then William Harding School pupil was attracting the interest of Arsenal and she spent eight years with the Gunners, travelling almost two hours twice a week to train at the club’s old Highbury Stadium.

Successful spells at Chelsea and Leeds Carnegie were followed by White’s return to Arsenal in 2010, where she worked as a sports development officer alongside her playing career, before turning professional in her mid-20s.

The former Notts County and Birmingham City striker has played in World Cups, European Championships, Olympic Games and won Barclays FA Women’s Super League titles with Arsenal and Manchester City during her playing career.

Tickets for England v Austria

But the 32 year old insists: “It is still crazy to play for England. I still walk in the changing rooms and when you see the shirts up, it is still really special. I don’t think I will ever get used to that because it is such an amazing privilege to play for England and you still get goosebumps.

“Even coming on camps and being selected is something that I personally can never take for granted because I feel so lucky because there are so many people who would love to be in my position and be able to play for their country. 

“It is something that I will never get used to. It is something that I am super proud of, I am super patriotic to be English and to play for my country. I feel really lucky.”

When you speak to White’s England colleagues, they all reference how she puts the team first despite her impressive record as one of the world’s best goalscorers.

It was one of the many positive traits highlighted by her former team-mate and England record goalscorer Smith in an interview with this week.

So it will come as no surprise to hear that White was quick to switch the focus on to her team when she was asked about the prospect of breaking England’s goalscoring record.

She said: “It is one that I have said, not that I don’t want to talk about it, but I just want to concentrate on what I can control, so that is being selected, working as hard as I can for the team and if I can contribute with goals then that is amazing for me.

“But I would feel really lucky if it was to happen but it is not something that is my main focus. So I am just trying to concentrate on what I can control: performing, training well, hopefully being selected and then doing what I can for the team on and off the pitch.”

She continued: “There are some crazy goalscorers that have played for England and to have seen what they achieved is incredible, so I feel really lucky to be sitting where I am at the moment and I never want to take anything for granted. I am just trying to do what I can do and help the team qualify for the World Cup and focus on these games coming up.

“My job is to score goals but there are other ways that I want to help the team as well. So I want to just focus on what I can do.”

England will play Austria in Sunderland’s Stadium of Light tomorrow before taking on Latvia at Doncaster Rovers’ Keepmoat Stadium on Tuesday 30 November.