Ellen White and England chasing ‘big performance’ as Norway provide tough test

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Ellen White in action during England’s win over Austria on Wednesday (Martin Rickett/PA) (PA Wire)
Ellen White in action during England’s win over Austria on Wednesday (Martin Rickett/PA) (PA Wire)

Ellen White says England are looking to put in a “really big performance” when they take on Norway on Monday in their second Euro 2022 group game.

The tournament hosts opened their campaign on Wednesday with a 1-0 win over Austria at Old Trafford in front of a competition-record crowd of 68,871.

Echoing boss Sarina Wiegman’s post-match comments, White has said there are “things we could definitely improve on” from that display as the Lionesses prepare to take on a Norway outfit who beat Northern Ireland 4-1 at St Mary’s in their opener on Thursday.

Ellen White, centre, goes for goal against Austria (Martin Rickett/PA) (PA Wire)
Ellen White, centre, goes for goal against Austria (Martin Rickett/PA) (PA Wire)

Ahead of Monday’s contest at the Amex Stadium, White told a press conference: “First and foremost I think it (Wednesday) was just an incredible occasion, 68,000 people coming out watching England.

“The noise was absolutely insane. We’re so thankful for everyone coming out and super proud.

“Our main priority was three points obviously. There’s things we could definitely improve on, and we’re looking to improve on going into the game on Monday.

“I think maybe we could have scored a few more goals, or made some better decisions in that final third.

“Ultimately, it’s room for us to grow in this tournament. It’s only game one. We’ll continue to grow hopefully and we’ve been out on the training field and wanting to improve and wanting to develop, and hopefully you’ll see that on Monday.

“We’ve analysed the Austria game and the areas we wanted to improve – possessing the ball and in the final third, and wanting to be more clinical.

“We want to go into this Norway game and hopefully put on a really big performance.

“They’re a great side. They’ve got some amazing players and they’re really well organised, so it will be a tough game.”

Among the prominent names in Norway’s ranks is Lyon forward Ada Hegerberg, the 2018 Ballon d’Or winner who last season returned to action after an ACL injury and then ended a self-imposed exile from her national side, having stepped away from it in 2017 unhappy at how women’s football was being run in the country.

The team were 2-0 up inside the first 15 minutes against Northern Ireland and 3-0 ahead just after half-hour mark.

White said: “They had a pretty good start didn’t they – I went out to get food and they were 2-0 up!

“I think they’re a phenomenal team, and this is a really tough group. But we watched it, we’ve analysed it and we’re fully focused on what we can do. It’s a big, big game for us, and we’re excited for it.

“I’m sure for Norway it’s great to have Hegerberg back in the team. She’s physical and her movement is incredible.

“I think we have to be really wary of the frontline and the players they have. Their strengths are very, very good and something we need to be very wary of going into this game.”

Ellen White speaks at an England press conference (Bradley Collyer/PA) (PA Wire)
Ellen White speaks at an England press conference (Bradley Collyer/PA) (PA Wire)

White is the Lionesses’ record scorer with 50 goals and was the joint-highest scorer at the 2019 World Cup, netting six times.

The 33-year-old Manchester City striker, who missed the second of England’s three Euros warm-up games last month after testing positive for coronavirus and then was an unused substitute for the third, made a number of unsuccessful attempts on goal during the Austria match.

Asked about the talk of room for improvement and pressure on her as the player leading the line, White said: “To be honest, I think I always put pressure on myself anyway. I want to be in the right place, I want to help the team in any way I can.”

White also said she felt “in a really good place”.