The hardest part of football is what wins you matches – putting the ball in the back of the net.
Fortunately, England have a not so secret weapon at their disposal in Ellen White, who has more than a penchant for sticking the ball into the onion bag.
England Women’s manager Sarina Wiegman will be looking to the 33-year-old to do what she does best at the Women’s Euro 2022, a tournament the Lionesses are one of the favourites to win.
And why wouldn’t Wiegman rely on White?
The striker was England’s star player at their last major tournament, netting six goals at the Women’s World Cup in France.
She finished level for goals with Silver Boot and Golden Boot winners Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe respectively but only claimed the Bronze Boot due to registering fewer assists than the American duo.
Her heroics in France were no fluke though, with White being a consistent performer for England since making her first appearance for the senior team in 2010.
White is the all-time record goalscorer for the England women’s team with 50 goals to her name.
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She’s neck and neck with Harry Kane, who’s expected to become record scorer for the men’s team, so just one goal at the finals will put her ahead of the Three Lions captain.
Then it’s on to Wayne Rooney – the legendary Manchester United forward – who netted 53 times for his country.
If the Lionesses perform as expected White could be England’s outright record goalscorer by the time Euro 2022 is over.
Her goal-bagging talents are certainly appreciated too with White scooping the England Women’s Player of the Year award on three occasions, last winning it in 2021 shortly before being part of a record-breaking 20-0 win over Latvia in a qualifier for the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
She’s recognised by her peers too, White’s teammate Lucy Ward telling talkSPORT: “The most important thing in a game of football is scoring goals, so if you can get Ellen White on form….
“She hasn’t really played much for Manchester City this season, but when she’s been picked for England she scores and that tells me that she’s a top-level striker.
“We’ve seen it in World Cups in France in 2019, she’s very important.”
White’s career hasn’t all been one big stroll though. As a 16-year-old, she made the big decision to leave Arsenal and join Chelsea – the move coming at a time when the north Londoners ruled the roost in women’s football in this country.
She’s also had to overcome injury setbacks, having injured her anterior cruciate ligament on two separate occasions in her career.
Many players aren’t the same after a dreaded ACL injury, but given her most recent complaint was in 2014, it’s clear White hasn’t let that dictate the direction of her career.
White has a bucket load of winners’ medals to boast, including two Women’s Super League titles and three Women’s FA Cups, as well as countless individual accolades.
All that’s missing from her impressive collection is success at a major international tournament.
But England’s triumph at the Arnold Clark Cup earlier in 2022 – that also coming on home turf – shows they’re more than ready to take on and beat Europe’s best.
And if they do, you can bet White will have played a key role in helping England get their hands on the trophy.
Listen to live commentary of every England Women’s Euro 2022 game on talkSPORT with the tournament getting underway on July 6.
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