20 Questions with Ellen White
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Record goalscorer for the England women’s team. Centurion. European champion. Ellen White is one of the most recognisable names in the English game. But how well do you really know the Lionesses legend?
Most fans will know about White’s selfless nature from watching her for more than a decade or from the countless interviews with her team-mates. But did you know she still cries at Love Actually and grew up a massive West Ham United fan?
White was one of several England internationals who took part in our series ’20 Questions’ last season and when the 33-year-old sat down with us in February, the love for her family and husband Callum Convery was clear for everyone to see.
1) What’s your earliest memory?
I would say playing football in the garden with my brother or pushing my rabbits around the garden in a pushchair. I would push the rabbits around or I would take them out and put a football in and run around the house with the pushchair. I also remember having all West Ham wallpaper as a kid as well, so it pretty much always involved football.
2) If you could go back in time, would you? And where to?
Obviously, you would want to go back in time and relive some moments or spend them with family that you no longer have with you, that kind of thing. But I feel pretty lucky with the moments I have had with my family and friends and those are the ones I would want to go back and re-live. I don’t have a specific moment though.
3) What do you like most about yourself?
That is a hard question, isn’t it? I think the thing I love most about myself is probably that I am pretty loyal, and I want to put everyone before myself. I hope everyone thinks that I am a good person and that is what I want to be remembered for. I want to be remembered as a good person, someone who is always thinking of others and someone who is kind and loyal.
4) What's your biggest achievement? (White was speaking in February before this summer’s EUROs)
I am someone who generally likes to put the emphasis on other people rather than myself. It is a tough one really because in November some amazing things happened for me, getting to 100 caps and breaking the record. They are things which I don’t necessarily like to talk about or bring up, especially in the lead-up to them when in the months before it was spoken about so much and I didn’t want to talk about it because nothing had happened and I hadn’t broken anything. But that is a very special one and reaching both milestones within a few days of each other was really special, especially with my family and friends there because a big part of me is about trying to make them proud and for them to share those moments with me.
5) What’s your worst habit?
I’m sure my husband would say I have 100! I am someone who always says sorry and my husband is always saying to me: ‘Why are you saying sorry?’ So that would be a big one. Another quite funny one would be that I take things close to the dishwasher but they don’t necessarily make their way into the dishwasher. My husband gets really annoyed with that and will say: ‘You did so well getting it all the way to the dishwasher but you couldn’t quite get it in’. So that would probably be a big one for him.
6) What makes you most angry?
Someone who isn’t loyal, is dishonest or people who are a little bit selfish. They would be big ones for me. I am someone who is all about being a team person and thinking about everyone else, so those ones really bug me.
7) Who is your biggest influence?
Growing up, my biggest influence was my Mum and Dad, brother and sister. I was like the baby of the family and would be taken to watch my brother play and my Mum and Dad sacrificed a lot for me to achieve my dreams. They would work long hours but come home and put me in the car to training and have travelled all over the world. So they were a big influence for me and obviously my husband has now joined the ranks as well. A lot of the things that I want to achieve or have achieved, the reason I have done it is because of these people and because they have sacrificed so much for me.
8) How do you react under pressure?
I like pressure. I want to play in big tournaments and big games, and I like that pressure. There is no doubt that I get nervous but I feel like I really want the team to achieve something special and to be able to do that, you have got to be able to work under pressure and be able to have a clear understanding of who you are and what you want to achieve and how you transfer that nervousness into performing essentially. I like to feel like I thrive under those circumstances.
9) When do you feel most at ease?
I think I feel most at ease at home really, with my husband chilling out watching TV. And also on the football field. It is sometimes like I am living two lives. I love playing football and I feel a lot of freedom when I am playing it but on the other hand, I also like being away from everything and like the quiet and being at home, watching Netflix or a documentary.
10) What do you dream about when you sleep?
Do you know what, I don’t remember a lot of my dreams. I am always fascinated by someone who says: ‘I have had this amazing dream’ because I have just slept and woke up. I do really wish I remembered my dreams more. I don’t know how you could force it more!
11) Favourite phrase or word?
Well sorry is obviously up there. I don’t know if I have a favourite phrase really. I’m probably just trying not to sound too northern as I have been living in Manchester for a while now.
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12) What reminds you of home?
That is a really good question. I think food because my dad is a really good cook, as he used to be a chef, so I do miss that a lot and food reminds me of home. If I hear a song then it reminds me of things. So this is random but for example, if I hear Pink’s Just Like a Pill song then it reminds me of my Mum or jumping on the sofa because we would be on MTV trying to get them to play it.
13) Are you superstitious about anything?
I used to have a lot when I was a little bit younger. Things which I liked to be very similar but then as you get older, you realise they are not the main reasons why you do not perform. But I do always put my right shin pad and my right boot on first and that kind of thing. And I always have the same pre-match meal of porridge but apart from that, it is hard to keep everything so succinct when you are travelling and there are so many variables. You have to be able to roll with it and be able to adapt.
14) What makes you cry?
Anything! I am a crier. A big crier. I could easily watch a movie that is not that sad and cry. Like I still cry at Love Actually. I would be watching a series and I will be pouring with tears and my husband will be like ‘how are you crying at this?’ I cry easily.
15) One song that makes you feel good?
Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off always makes me feel good. Everyone takes the mickey out of me for liking Taylor Swift but it was actually the second song for my wedding. At our wedding, we did our first dance and then they put on Shake it off and I launched my husband off the dance floor and then everyone was up dancing. So that is a nice one for me.
16) Biggest obstacle?
Probably myself really; overthinking things or being too critical of myself. Now I have got a little bit older, I have become a bit better at it but there are always things, especially as a footballer and wanting to develop and do well. Being part of a team, you don’t want to let anyone down and you want to make your family proud so I would probably say the main one is myself.
17) Favourite place in the world?
Anywhere where my husband is really…and my cats. Wherever they are or my family are, that is my favourite place to be.
18) Most valuable possession?
That is a really good question. What do I love so much that I really can’t do without? I don’t really want to say a person because I obviously don’t think of them as a possession but having that stability of my husband and being with him. I think I could live without everything really as long as we are together.
19) Worst fear?
I suppose it is losing someone that is close to you. Obviously, I want to be able to play football and stuff like that but when you think of your family and friends, that takes over.
20) How would you like to be remembered?
I want to be remembered for being a good person first and foremost. Being remembered as an alright footballer would be nice as well but to be a good person who thinks of others and to be known for being kind and loyal, that is what people associate with me.
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