Ellen White relishing test against Spain as England plot path to Euro 2022 glory

Record goalscorer Ellen White is relishing the chance to test herself against Spain’s Barcelona all-stars as England plot a path to Euro 2022 glory.

The 32-year-old Manchester City striker took her international goal tally to 48 with a hat-trick in the 20-0 World Cup qualifier demolition of Latvia in November to eclipse Kelly Smith’s total of 46, but knows the going will be significantly tougher when she goes head-to-head with the talented Spaniards at Carrow Road on Sunday.

White said: “As a footballer, you want to play against the best players, the best teams, the best opponents, so collectively as a whole squad, we’re really excited to face Spain.

“It’s a different style of play that we face as well. They want to possess the ball and we want the ball at the same time, so I think it will be a really interesting match-up and one that we’re thoroughly excited to have to test ourselves against Spain.”

Jorge Vilda’s fast-emerging team, which is ranked one rung below eighth-placed England by FIFA, is built around a core of players from Champions League winners Barcelona led by midfielder and last year’s Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas.

They represent a serious threat to English hopes of going all the way at the Euros on home soil, but for head coach Sarina Wiegman, who guided her side to a 1-1 draw against Olympic champions Canada on Thursday evening, the game represents just the kind of test they need.

Wiegman said: “They (Spain) have developed very well. We know they have a lot of Barcelona players and are very tactical and technical.

Barcelona’s Spain midfielder Alexia Putellas won last year’s Ballon d’Or (Zac Goodwin/PA)

(PA Wire)

“They have done really well. They drew the first game, but before that, they won lots of games, so we are aware (of the threat they pose). But we also think we have opportunities to harm them too.”

Wiegman has indicated she will make changes – White and City team-mate Lucy Bronze, who had not played for her country since undergoing knee surgery last summer, were used only as second-half substitutes at the Riverside Stadium on Thursday – with one eye on Wednesday’s clash with another European powerhouse, Germany.

She said: “Yes, there will be some changes. As we said before this camp, we have the opportunity to try out some things because we have three games in six days.

“We want to see some things, we want to develop our style of play and we want to see combinations of players together to see how they connect, so tomorrow we have that opportunity and we will make some changes.”

Should White get the nod, she will take to the pitch confident there are still improvements to be made to her game.

Asked about her personal goals after breaking Smith’s record, the striker said: “I don’t really share personal goals, to be honest.

“Playing for England, it’s about the team game and I want the team to win, I want the team to do well and obviously I want to develop as a player to help the team, so I’ll be doing everything I can to develop and work as hard as I can to improve my game, but also to be selected for England and hopefully play well.

“But ultimately, I want the team to do well to develop and for us to do well.”

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