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Ellen White: The highs and lows of a record-breaking career

Ellen White File Photos
(Image credit: Andrew Matthews)

Ellen White, the all-time record goalscorer for England’s women’s team, has announced her retirement from football at the age of 33.

Here, the PA news agency looks at plenty of highs and the occasional low from the striker’s career.

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White marked her first England appearance, in March 2010, with a goal.

Having come off the bench just after the hour, the then 20-year-old sent a dinked finish over the goalkeeper and in late on to wrap up a 3-0 victory over Austria in a World Cup qualifier at Loftus Road.

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Just over a year later, White was making a splash on the biggest stage, scoring a memorable effort at the 2011 World Cup in Germany against eventual champions Japan.

The opener in England’s 2-0 group-stage win saw Karen Carney send a long pass forward and White produce a superb lobbed effort from around 25 yards out.

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  • P 3
  • W 0
  • D 1
  • L 2
  • GD -4

That campaign ended in the quarter-finals and there was then considerable disappointment at the next major tournament.

England failed to reach the knockout stages of Euro 2013 in Sweden, finishing bottom of their group with a single point from three games. White played every minute and did not score.

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Ellen White's time at Notts county got off to a bad start

Ellen White’s time at Notts county got off to a bad start (Nigel French/PA)


After winning a glut of trophies with Arsenal, White moved to Notts County ahead of the 2014 Women’s Super League season – and ended up missing the entire campaign.

The forward ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament in a pre-season match against Durham in April of that year and only returned to action the following March.

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Ellen White scores in the World Cup semi-final

Ellen White scores in the World Cup semi-final (Richard Sellers/PA)


White finished the 2019 World Cup as the joint top-scorer alongside United States pair Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan.

Her goals fired England to the semi-finals but for the third successive major tournament, they suffered a last-four exit.

White scored in the 2-1 semi-final defeat to the USA and thought she had equalised for a second time, only to be denied by an offside call via VAR. She then won a late penalty but Steph Houghton’s effort was saved.

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Ellen White broke the record against Latvia

Ellen White broke the record against Latvia (Tim Goode/PA)


White became the Lionesses’ record goalscorer when she notched a hat-trick in a remarkable 20-0 World Cup qualifying thrashing of Latvia at the Keepmoat Stadium in November 2021.

On what was her 101st cap, it saw the forward move past Kelly Smith’s mark of 46 goals and on to 48.

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White again excelled on the big stage as she scored six goals for Great Britain at the Tokyo Olympics in the summer of 2021 – that included a hat-trick in a 4-3 loss to Australia in the quarter-finals.

It was her second Olympic campaign, having also featured at London 2012.

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Ellen White with the Euro 2022 trophy

Ellen White with the Euro 2022 trophy (Nigel French/PA)


White then finally got her hands on international silverware as she helped England triumph at the home Euros this summer.

While not quite so prolific this time, she scored twice at the tournament, which took her to 52 England goals – leaving her one behind Wayne Rooney’s record tally.

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