Seldom does a player eclipse a national team, especially one as highly covered as England. But yet on the eve of the Lionesses’ game against Latvia there is only one name on everybody’s lips, Ellen White.
Back in 2015 when Kelly Smith retired, many thought her record would be untouched for decades. But just six years after the legendary forward retired with 46 goals to her name, White could match that record.
Her chances of doing so tomorrow night in Doncaster look good, especially considering the fact that tomorrow’s opponents Latvia were dispatched 10-0 by the Lionesses in October with White adding to her tally in that fixture.
White has all the facets to be a top player if she isn’t one already. On the pitch she’s aggressive, creative and has an almost unnatural ability to find the back of the net. Yet off the field, the 32-year-old is a well-liked member of the England setup.
“She has the quality to score plenty of goals and it will be an amazing moment for her and for the team,” said teammate Beth Mead.
“We will all be behind her and celebrate with her when it happens,” she continued. “But Ellen being Ellen isn’t really thinking about it right now.”
The Aylesbury forward’s form in England’s World Cup qualifiers is unmatched with six goals in five appearances this year, but at club level White has had a hit-and-miss season with just one goal in three appearances this year; yet that certainly doesn’t water down her achievement should she break the record, whether it is tomorrow or later in the season.
“White potentially taking over Smith as the Lionesses’ top goal scorer is testament to her quality,” said Liverpool Echo reporter Hannah Pinnock.
“Even if she doesn’t do it tomorrow night, she’s on track to break the record in significantly less caps. She’s not had the best season for Manchester City with one goal so far, but she’s been performing at such a consistent level for so many years.”
Across both the men’s and women’s England setups, White ranks as sixth in the all-time list, beaten by Smith (46 goals), Gary Lineker (48 goals), Harry Kane (48 goals), Sir Bobby Charlton (49 goals) with Wayne Rooney topping the list (53 goals).
White will be aiming to eclipse Smith’s record at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium tomorrow night. England are top of Group D and are five points ahead of second place Austria, while Latvia – who have a game in hand – sit bottom on the group still yet to win a game.