England Women fully support Phil Neville in Euro 2021 push – Ellen White
The Lionesses are to play in front of a record attendance for a women’s game in England, with Wembley sold out for Saturday’s friendly with Germany.
Ellen White insists manager Phil Neville has the full support of the England Women squad as momentum now builds towards the home staging of Euro 2021.
A lacklustre 1-0 victory in Portugal a month ago ended a run of five games without a win, that included four defeats, sparked by the World Cup semi-final loss to the United States in early July.
After undergoing knee surgery, striker White is back in the England fold for the first time since the World Cup for the friendlies with Germany at a sold-out Wembley on Saturday and against the Czech Republic in Ceske Budejovice next Tuesday.
The 88-times capped White – who finished the World Cup as joint-top goalscorer with six goals in six games and was recently shortlisted for the Ballon d’Or – maintains Neville is the man to lead the country into the European Championship in just under two years’ time.
Asked whether the squad still had faith in Neville despite the recent results and performances, the 30-year-old Manchester City forward said: “Of course, we want to achieve, we know what we need to do to achieve that and what it takes.
“Within the squad we understand that, and we know we need to be peaking come 2021, so with that comes transition, different personnel, a different game plan, different structures within the team, and who we are playing.
“So long as we are on that right path, then we understand what we need to get there.”
White says Neville, who will have been in charge two years come January, has personally helped her develop her own game, despite conceding she was initially reluctant to do so.
“He’s a really lovely guy, and for us, he understands what it is like to be a professional footballer, to play for an international team, and that’s great for us, the communication has been there,” said White.
“For me, as a striker, he has tweaked and changed little bits of my game that I was a little bit resistant to, to start with, about staying within the width of the 18-yard box because I liked to run around and get involved.
“It took a while for me to really change my game and to understand what he meant by that, but it has really helped my game, and it showed at the World Cup, being in the right place at the right time.
“He has been a great addition to England and we are proud he is our manager.”
The match against Germany represents an historic occasion as a new attendance record will be set for a women’s game in England as it is set to double the Lionesses’ previous best of 45,619 for a 3-0 defeat by the Germans five years ago, and beating the 80,000 crowd for the USA’s 2012 Olympic final win over Japan.
“We’re so proud so many people are coming to watch us, to be a part of history,” addressed White.
“It’s a celebration at the same time, to thank all the fans for supporting us at the World Cup, and hopefully the progression of women’s football to grow and get bigger and bigger.
“Hopefully, this is the start of us selling out massive stadiums, of people supporting us and wanting to come and watch women’s football.”