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Published 20 September 2021 6 min read

When Harry Met Ellen...

Written by:

Frank Smith

England strikers Harry Kane and Ellen White discuss what it means to play for England and their special memories of Wembley Stadium

England Lionesses striker Ellen White and England men’s senior team captain Harry Kane both have their sights set on their respective national side’s goalscoring record.

For White, she has three more to go before matching England Women’s legend Kelly Smith on 46, while Kane will need another 12 before he goes level with former team-mate Wayne Rooney on 53.

Recently, White and Kane sat down for an online call where they discussed what it means to play for England, the amazing memories they both have at Wembley Stadium connected by EE and much more.

For Gareth Southgate’s men’s side, their next home game is with Hungary on Tuesday 12 October, which comes just a few days after their trip to Andorra. Meanwhile fans will be able to see new head coach Sarina Wiegman lead out the England women’s team at Wembley on Saturday 23 October when they take on Northern Ireland.

You can see a full transcript of White and Kane’s chat below...

18 Sep 2021 6:13

England 8-0 North Macedonia | Highlights

Sarina Wiegman's first game ends with the Lionesses scoring eight goals, including a double from Ellen White

Harry: So I wanted to speak to you about Wembley and how it feels to play there. What was it like for you to step out there?

Ellen: Crazy. We'd only played there once before and I wasn’t involved in that game so for me to step out in front of more than 70,000, it was crazy. 

I’m sure you know what the atmosphere is like there, it was just insane. It was amazing to have family and friends there as well and to have everyone there supporting us. We’ve been to tournaments where you have some people who hate England so it was nice to have everyone who was there supporting us for a change!

What are your memories of Wembley? Like making your debut there for instance?

Harry: Wembley holds a special place for me. Making my debut was just an amazing day. I was waiting on the bench, desperate to come on. I had all my friends and family there and I managed to get on and I managed to score. It was almost what you dream of as a kid coming through. It is hard to put it into words how great a feeling that was really.  

Obviously playing at Wembley in the EUROs in the summer, we had some amazing games and the atmosphere was incredible even though it wasn’t a full house. When the fans are behind you, the noise is something else. Incredible. The Germany game for me was a moment I will never forget – the atmosphere, the feeling after the game, to hear the fans singing Sweet Caroline was pretty special, so for sure Wembley holds a real special place in my heart.

You obviously played against Germany too pre-COVID, what was the feeling like to score there?

Ellen: Crazy. To walk out playing for England and then score at Wembley, it's definitely something that you dream of. Like your debut, where you had your friends and family there, I had all mine there and then to score. The result wasn’t quite what we wanted but I know what you mean regarding playing Germany. I am super patriotic so to play for England, it is such a massive game against Germany isn't it? We didn’t quite get the result you guys did this summer but definitely for me, to score there and have those emotions was incredible and something which I will never forget. It was crazy. The atmosphere was crazy.

Harry: I hear you're closing in all the all-time scoring record as well, am I right? How far away are you now?

Ellen: I’m trying. I think it is seven [still to go] (now three after braces against North Macedonia and Luxembourg). I say I think…

There are still a few more to go. I am chasing Kelly Smith, who was obviously pretty good and was one of my idols. She's someone I Iooked up to and she has an amazing record for England. I would love to be able to do it. You know what it feels like to score for England, it is a dream and to have all those emotions.

It would be an amazing achievement to do it but it is not my main focus obviously. I want to do something special with England of course but it is definitely in the back of my mind.

Harry: So you have the EUROs next year right?

Ellen: Yeah, we have a home EUROs so it will be crazy if we had the atmosphere that you guys had. We have loads of games around the country so it will be amazing to have fans there.

Harry: So how many more games do you have between now and then? You have a few more camps?

Ellen: Yeah so we basically have qualifiers, similar to you guys. You have a big few months as well, with a lot of games. What was it like coming back? Do you feel ready to go again?

Harry: It is strange. It feels like we were at St. George’s Park only yesterday. It was such an amazing summer – we were away for 45 or 46 days I think it was in total – and there were so many emotions. Falling just short was hard to take but then you go away for a few weeks and they go so quick and all of a sudden you are back in the Premier League and back in the England camp.

Harry Kane celebrates after scoring against Ukraine in Euro 2020
Harry Kane celebrates after scoring against Ukraine in Euro 2020

The focus has turned straight for qualifying for Qatar, when we have some tough games, so it is just about using those feelings and using the summer as a positive. There were a lot of positive things that came out of it and the most important thing for us now is to qualify for Qatar because we feel we are in a real good moment as a squad, so we are excited. We just have to carry on doing what we are doing and hopefully make it a successful year.

Ellen: Where does that rank in your career? Reaching that final, you obviously wanted to go all the way but that atmosphere, the togetherness, being away for so long, I’m sure it was incredible for all you guys as well?

Harry: No, it was. Some of the best times of our lives really. I think when you are in that camp and the COVID restrictions, we obviously couldn’t see friends or family so it was the same faces every day but we just created a real family environment and that came from the manager and all the players. Just being with each other and enjoying it. 

There's no greater feeling than when you are doing well for England in a major tournament because you feel everyone behind you. We had similar in Russia in 2018 but obviously being there in Russia we didn’t really get the feeling of the home fans and what it was like in the UK. To be actually in England and see the fans on the way to games, in the streets as they were clapping the bus going past, they were memories you will never forget.

There's always that feeling when we win but it is always hard to take when you get to a final and don’t quite get over the line but going into the World Cup in Qatar I feel like a lot of us would have gained a lot of experience from that so we just have to use the positives. We overcame a lot of hurdles that the national team have not achieved in a long, long time so now it is about gaining from that and hopefully go that one step further.

And you are closing in on 100 caps I hear as well. What are you on now?

Ellen: I’m on 95 at the moment. So five to go (now 97 with three to go after game with North Macedonia and Luxembourg). We have a new manager so I am hoping to get in her good books, so if she will play me five more times, that would be nice. It would be an incredible achievement, yeah. 

Harry: Yeah 100 per cent. I look forward to seeing it and hopefully it is done over the next year or so and you can take that form into the EUROs.

Ellen White with new head coach Sarina Wiegman
Ellen White with new head coach Sarina Wiegman

And are you back-to-back like we are, in having the World Cup a year after?

Ellen: So we have the EUROs and then 2023 in Australia and New Zealand for the World Cup, so it is pretty crazy.

Well you guys are a constant juggernaut.

Harry: I know, we have the Nations League inbetween now as well but it is all good fun. There's nothing better than representing your country for sure. 

It was great to speak to you Ellen and I wish you all the best. I look forward to hopefully seeing you get your 100 caps and your goalscoring record as well.

Ellen: I appreciate that. And good luck with your games coming up too.

Harry: I appreciate that and I will see you soon. Thank you. Bye.

Ellen: You too. Bye.

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