Women's Team

Ellen White on her first year at City - and hunger to return

Ellen White on her first year at City - and hunger to return
City striker Ellen White has been both reflecting back on an eventful first season at the Club as well as looking forward during the current hiatus from football caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The England Lionesses star, like her City team-mates, has been operating from home over the past several weeks with the FA Women’s Super League and FA Cup both put on hold.

For White, who celebrates her 31st birthday today, it has been both a period for reflection as well as a chance to focus ahead to when football does resume.

And she admits that a spell of nearly two months apart from her colleagues has only served to reinforce how much she misses her team-mates.

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“It’s obviously an unprecedented situation and quite strange times as well with the lockdown rules,” Ellen says.

“I’ve been trying to keep to a regular routine, getting up at a similar time, getting my training done and trying to fill the day with different things, such as reading, watching Netflix and spending some time out in the garden which we're lucky to have.

“I think the key thing is that I’m just trying to keep a routine.

“I miss going into the Club to see my teammates, and I miss spending time training and playing games but it’s all for the greater good us doing what we are doing in staying at home.

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“Hopefully, football will return soon but the main priority is that everyone stays safe and well, I think.

“It is very strange not seeing everyone every day.

“Probably for the first week or two it was quite nice but then it gets to week five or six and it’s like actually I do miss everyone! And I wouldn’t mind a bit of banter and people taking the mickey out of me right now!

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“I’ve spoken to quite a few of the girls. I’m close with Steph (Houghton) so I’ve been chatting quite a bit with her, Jill (Scott) is a really good laugh and Karen Bardsley too.

“But it is very strange being away from my team-mates. It’s an odd time but, hopefully, we will return soon.”

After capturing the hearts of the nation last summer with her magnificent performances for England at the World Cup finals, where she finished joint top scorer, White was eagerly looking forward to transferring that international form with City.

Instead, much to her and City’s frustration, a knee injury sustained early in pre-season meant she was side-lined for the first few months of the season.

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True to form however, Ellen more than made up for lost time on her return and she had scored nine goals from just 18 appearances when the season went into hiatus.

“It wasn’t the best start to my City career to get injured coming off the back of the World Cup,” she reflected.

“It was hard to go into a new club, new staff, new teammates and to then get injured that quickly into pre-season.

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“However, I tried to look at it in a positive way and tried to remain as upbeat as possible and I wanted the team to do well.

“I love being a part of the squad, but I do find it hard to watch so that was challenging.

“But I worked really hard on my rehab and recovery and I’m pleased so far with how the season has gone.

“I hope people can see how much passion I have for the game and how much I love playing for City and if I contribute in any way to the team, that’s my main priority.

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“I’ve really enjoyed it so far and if I can contribute either by scoring goals or in any other way then that would be amazing

“I just want to play and continue to help in any way I can to the team.”

White’s goals and all-round impact had been key components in City’s impressive form which, at the time of lockdown, had seen us both lead the way in the FA Women’s Super League and reach the quarter-finals of the FA Women’s Cup.

City were involved in a three-way title battle with Chelsea and Arsenal while we were due to travel to Leicester City in the FA Cup quarter-final when the season was put on hold.

“There is still so much to play for,” the England striker added.

“In the league we are gunning for the title and up against Chelsea and Arsenal so it’s really tight at the top and, of course, we are also still in the FA Cup which is a such a prestigious trophy.

“As a player you want to get to Wembley and be part of such an amazing occasion.

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“It’s kind of been put on hold right now. We would love it if the safety parameters are able to be put in place for us to resume but, obviously, the overriding first priority is the safety of everyone.”

One of the other by-products of the current hiatus has been to make White if anything even more appreciative and excited about the game.

And our striker had a warning for her rivals when City do finally get back in action.

“As and when we do return, I think I will be like a cannon!” Ellen chuckled.

“I’ll be flying round everywhere. I’m sorry for the team that we play first… it’s going to be crazy!

“It’s funny as in the first few weeks (of lockdown), I didn’t want to look at too much analysis.

“But as time has gone on, I’ve looked at more stuff and now I can’t wait to get out on the field with my teammates and to start playing again.”

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