‘Legend of the modern game’ – tributes pour in as Ellen White announces retirement

Personalities from across the football world have paid tribute to Ellen White, after England Women’s all-time top goalscorer announced her retirement from professional football at the age of 33.

White netted 52 goals in 113 appearances for her country and signed off on the ultimate high, with the last game of her career the Lionesses’ Euro 2022 final victory over Germany at Wembley.

“Ellen White will long be remembered as a model for others to follow,” said Baroness Sue Campbell, The FA’s director of women’s football. “It is not just about her record-breaking 52 goals and performances on the pitch, but about the standards she set and the way she conducts herself. 

“A true leader of women, it has never been about Ellen White for her – even when she was scoring the crucial goals or giving everything she had, it was always the team first. She is a legend of the modern game.” 

The striker played domestic football for Chelsea, Leeds, Arsenal, Notts County, Birmingham and Manchester City, winning two WSL titles, three FA Cups and four League Cups.

“Ellen is without doubt an icon of the game, and although her career is now at its end, her efforts have paved the way for so many to flourish in the future,” said City boss Gareth Taylor.

“She has given so much over the years to the game that she adores, and she leaves it in the strongest place it has ever been, which is testament to her hard work and sacrifices.

“She has been the definition of the consummate professional and I feel incredibly privileged to have been able to work with her over the past two seasons – her name will be written into the history books as an icon of women’s football.”

White is the WSL’s second all-time top scorer, with 61 top flight goals, and she scooped the WSL golden boot during the 2017/18 season.

“Words can’t describe how proud & lucky I am to have called you a team mate but also a friend,” Beth Mead wrote on Twitter. “The biggest professional & goal scorer. The game didn’t deserve you but you’ll be missed greatly. @ellsbells89 my hero.”

The 33-year-old was also the joint top scorer at the 2019 World Cup, netting six goals during the Lionesses’ run to the semi finals and taking her Anthony Modeste goggles celebration into the mainstream.

“A wonderful career and a fabulous goal scorer,” Gary Linkeker wrote on Twitter. “Wish @ellsbells89 all the very best with what comes next.”

White has represented Team GB at two Olympic games, and finished as the team’s top scorer at Tokyo 2020. She scored six times in four matches – including a hat-trick against Australia in the quarter finals.

“The absolute best of the best,” Rachel Daly wrote on Twitter. “Thank you, Ellen. You truly are of a kind. I’m so excited for your future and so proud of everything you’ve achieved.”

She wrapped up her career in style, starting all six games during England’s Euro 2022 triumph and netting twice at the tournament as the Lionesses lifted their maiden piece of silverware.

“Ellen has given so much for England and we are all so proud of her,” said Sarina Wiegman. “I have only had the pleasure of working with her for this past year, but her professionalism, work rate and finishing ability is world class.

“This summer, she did an amazing job for the team, she is the perfect team player and helped the younger players to find their way in international football. I already knew she was a great player but I found an even better person.”

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