While there are five men’s players shortlisted, White is our sole female representative, having enjoyed a stellar year for Club and country.
The City and England striker, who was named England's Player of the Year and also earned a nomination as TheBest FIFA Women's Player, is on the brink of making history for the Lionesses by becoming their all-time record goalscorer and is also one appearance away from her 100th international cap.
White needs just three goals to break Kelly Smith’s record and it would be a fitting finale to an unforgettable 2021 for her to achieve the milestone in November’s World Cup qualifiers.
Based on achievements during the last calendar year, below are her credentials for this year’s Ballon d'Or consideration.
The forward started the year with a bang: on the scoresheet in a thumping 7-0 thrashing of Aston Villa to spark a superb run of 11 goals in 12 games for Club and country.
She hit a hat-trick in the Lionesses’ 6-0 win over Northern Ireland, while her opener in the FA Women’s Super League victory over Arsenal – a trademark nearpost, first-time finish – helped to claim a crucial three points at Borehamwood.
She rekindled her impressive form in the final games of City’s 2020/21 campaign, crafting another assist against the Solihull outfit at the beginning of May before bagging successive goals against childhood Club West Ham – the first the winner on her birthday on the final day of the league season.
The timing for her to have regained her scoring touch was perfect: just in time for the Olympics, as she readied herself to take part in her second Games with Team Great Britain.
Her impact was sensational. She netted six goals in six games, as GB reached the quarter-finals, including a hat-trick against Australia in the last eight.
Despite that remarkable feat, it would be the Matildas who would book their place in the semi-finals – City’s summer recruit Alanna Kennedy on the scoresheet in a 4-3 win for the Aussies.
However, White's efforts for her country were deservedly recognised, as she was named England’s Player of the Year for 2020/21 – as voted by the fans. Speaking to mancity.com, though ever humble, she expressed her delight.
“I was quite shocked but really proud,” she smiled. “I was speechless!
“It’s voted for by fans and it’s an amazing award to win – one I’m really proud of.
“Playing for England is a dream for me. It is really nice. It’s lovely that people recognise the work I put in.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself – I don’t look back and think: 'You’ve done alright!' – so it was a really nice surprise and I’m really proud.”
Though injury ruled her out of City’s 2021/22 season opener against Real Madrid, successive September braces for England against North Macedonia and Luxembourg set her off and running for the new campaign and she bagged her first goal of the season with a poacher’s finish to rescue a precious point in the Manchester Derby.
She doubled her personal tally for the season four days later against Everton and then edged closer to her England landmark with a strike in a 10-0 thrashing of Latvia.
City Head Coach Gareth Taylor tipped his striker to break the record, hailing her hard work and professionalism.
“Ellen lives on scoring goals,” he said. “I think it’s a matter of time before she does it.
“She’s been a real talisman for England and for us over the last couple of seasons and rightly so deserves her nomination on a European level as well.”
City 2021 in numbers – all competitions
Matches played: 32
Minutes played: 2,345