Ellen White: A profile of England’s record goalscorer
Ellen White’s club and England career
Ellen White became England Women’s all-time leading goalscorer when she bagged a hat-trick in a 20-0 victory over Latvia on her 101st appearance at the end of November.
The 32-year-old’s exploits at Wembley secured another accolade in an illustrious career for both club and country which has seen her named England’s international player of the year on three occasions.
A multiple trophy winner during three seasons with Arsenal, White helped her current club Manchester City win the Women’s FA Cup in 2020.
Now in her 17th season as a professional, we’re taking a look at Ellen White’s club and England career.
White started her career at Arsenal’s academy at the age of eight having been scouted while playing for Aylesbury United but left the club at 16 to join their London rivals where she was the top scorer for three successive seasons.
Leeds Carnegie 2008-10
Despite suffering a cruciate ligament injury within months of signing for Leeds, White ended the season in style with five goals in four matches.
Her double in the 3-1 win against Everton helped Leeds win the Women’s Premier League Cup for the first time.
A month later she scored as a substitute on her England debut in a 3-0 World Cup qualifying win against Austria.
Financial problems meant Leeds turned their back on the chance to join the FA’s new Super League, a move which resulted in White returning to Arsenal where she won two league titles, two FA Cups and three League Cups.
While at Arsenal, White represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics and was selected by England for the 2011 Women’s World Cup – and was also named England’s player of the year.
During White’s first season at the club, she scored six goals in 13 appearances as the Gunners won the League Cup, the Women’s FA Cup and the WSL.
Notts County 2013-16
Despite White’s success at Arsenal, she made the move to Notts County on a three-year deal but a major setback came as an ACL injury forced her to miss the entire WSL season in 2015.
Notts County finished sixth in her final season with the club, whose offer of a new contract was turned down by White who instead opted to join Birmingham, WSL runners-up in 2011 and 2012.
A move to Birmingham produced another successful season, topping the WSL scoring charts in her maiden campaign with 15 goals in 14 appearances.
But it was at the 2019 Women’s World Cup where White really burst onto the world stage.
White scored in England’s opening game against Scotland and did not look back, finishing the tournament as the Lionesses’ all-time top World Cup goalscorer and with the Bronze Boot – ending with fewer assists than the Golden and Silver boot winners Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan of the United States.
Manchester City 2019-present
Manchester City came calling for White in May 2019 but another knee injury required surgery, ruling her out of the 2019 Women’s International Champions Cup and the first three months of the season.
White returned to win a second Women’s FA Cup and star for England in their SheBelieves Cup defence in March 2020 during which England head coach Phil Neville described her as “one of the best strikers in the world”.
But everything changed two weeks later with the coronavirus-enforced lockdown which she spent studying the world’s best in a bid to find an extra edge – while also building Lego and watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine!
“I’m just trying to improve myself and develop myself,” she said back in April 2020, after studying Erling Haaland, Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy.
“I’ve looked at the way they receive the ball, their movement in and around the box, how they create their own space and get on to the ball…their range of finishes, how they get that half a yard.
“I like looking at a range of different strikers. Haaland is different to Kane, who is different to Vardy. Just something different to add to my game really, just trying to get better.”
White became only the second WSL player to reach 50 goals following a brace during Manchester City’s 8-1 thrashing of Bristol City.
In England’s first match since the coronavirus pandemic, White struck a hat-trick in a 6-0 thrashing of Northern Ireland and kicked on as England began a new era under Sarina Wiegman.
She struck a total of five goals as England racked up 32 in just four World Cup qualifying matches, adding another in winning her 100th cap against Austria.
White then broke Kelly Smith’s record with an early brace against Latvia two months after being named the Lionesses’ international player of the year for a third time.