AYLESBURY’S Ellen White picked up one of the most prestigious accolades of her career when she was voted England Women’s Player of the Year for 2011 by fans this week.
The Arsenal striker played 13 times for her country in 2011 – only vice-captain Casey Stoney appeared more – and joint-top scored, along with Rachel Yankey, with four goals.
The impressive stats earned White the majority of votes cast in an online poll on www.thefa.com
The former Chelsea and Leeds forward said: “I’m extremely proud and really grateful.”
“It makes it more special that it is voted for by the fans. I’m really thankful they have given me this award. It’s overwhelming really.”
Much like the winner of the men’s award, Scott Parker, White cemented her place in the England team in 2011 after making her debut in March 2010.
But it did not take her long to make an impression. The 22-year-old former Bucks Herald Sports Personality of the Year winner has an international goal ratio of almost one in two and she has evolved into one of her country’s key performers.
“It was a massive year for me because I got the chance to prove myself on the international stage,” reflected White.
“To be selected for the World Cup squad was the pinnacle, and to get minutes on the pitch and to start games in Germany - it was a whirlwind of a year, one that I’ll never forget and winning this award just tops it off.”
White certainly played her part in Germany, but her own personal highlight of 2011 came off the field – it was receiving the phone call from national coach Hope Powell which confirmed her inclusion in the World Cup squad.
“The call from Hope that told me I was in the squad was an amazing moment for me,” she said.
“I was so excited I was jumping around the house and I rang my mum and dad straight away to tell them.
“Knowing that you’ve put all this hard work in and knowing you’ve been picked for your country to play at a World Cup was a massive highlight. The crowds that came to our games were 20,000 plus and it was an amazing experience.
“Being there and being part of it was a massive deal and the fact my family came over to watch me gave me a lot of confidence and it proved to them that all the travelling was worth it.”
White has also been selected in the GB women’s football long squad for the 2012 Olympics in London and will hope to make the final cut.