As the Lionesses’ preparations for UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 continue, one of the most experienced members of the squad is Manchester City’s Ellen White. The record-breaking forward, 33, spoke prior to her positive COVID-19 test, looking optimistically towards tomorrow’s friendly against the Netherlands at Elland Road, as well as the tournament as a whole.
Commenting on her opinion of manager Sarina Wiegman, White said: “She’s a really nice person! “Her communication skills, the way she’s a true leader, I think that’s fed through the staff, players, everyone.”
White also commented on Wiegman’s previous Euros winning experience, saying: “We were hugely pleased when she came because we knew she’d already won a Euros, she’s always talking about her experience and how she wants her team to play, and to be the best prepared team really!”
Switching focus, White praised the balance of the squad as a whole, saying: “As a squad, the depth and experience we have, not just internationally but in club football as well with the experiences of playing Champions League and cup finals, I think the experience is incredible throughout the whole squad!”
“We’ve got a great balance of youth and experience” she continued.
Some of the most youthful visitors to St George’s Park on this occasion were players from various grassroots teams that several of the Lionesses team played for when they were younger.
When asked about whether or not the tournament would have a positive effect on the future careers of young girls in football, White said: “I hope so! “I actually got asked what my first experience was of remembering a tournament and I said Euro 96, which is obviously a men’s tournament, but we’ve got these kids now that their first tournament or their first experience of a tournament will be a Women’s Euros!”
“It’s scary, exciting and mind blowing and we’re excited for the visibility of all those kids seeing women’s football out there” White continued.
A notable absence from Wiegman’s final squad was of White’s City teammate Steph Houghton, with the experienced defender missing out following an injury-ridden season.
Regarding Houghton’s absence, White said: “We know what Steph’s done for England. “She’s a great friend and a great leader and she’s been phenomenal for England.”
“Sarina’s selected a phenomenal group with so much talent, depth and experience and youth, so for this tournament we’ve got to focus on the 23 we’ve got” White continued.
In this same tournament five years ago, the Lionesses were defeated 3-0 by Wiegman’s Netherlands team, with many wondering how far the side has come since this game, especially ahead of tomorrow’s friendly with the same opponent.
Commenting on the growth of the team, White said: “You’ll maybe have to see that on Friday! “It’s a hard question because five years has passed and we’ve got a phenomenal manager that we’re really proud of and we’re pleased that she’s our manager.”
“Obviously they went on to win in 2017, so for this group we’ve really grown and developed since Sarina’s come in” she continued
White has become known for how prolific she has been in previous tournaments, with the hope being that this will continue into this year’s Euros.
When questioned about how she keeps doing it, White said: “For me it’s the sense of being quite free, and I’m surrounded by very talented players that put in the crosses and put the ball in front of me to be able to score.”
“I train and work as hard as I can to be in the right place at the right time and I do always come back to fill in the sense of being in front of the goal” she continued.
Despite missing tomorrow’s friendly against the Dutch following her positive COVID-19 test, White is almost certain to be part of the starting line-up against Austria at Old Trafford on July 6th, with her clear optimism showing just how far the team has come, as well as being motivated to inspire the Lionesses of the future and possessing a goal to make the whole country proud, something that will no doubt drive the White and the whole team as far as they can, potentially all the way to Euros glory.