IN an exclusive interview, the Herald's Stephen Gillett spoke with Chelsea ace Ellen White about her star turn at last month's Under-19 European Championships, taking on the boys and much, much more...
How did you get involved in football?
My whole family is football orientated and when I was young my Dad ran a soccer academy called 'Mini Ducks' that I used to go along to. I then played at Aylesbury Town before I was scouted by Arsenal when I was at eight.
Were you a natural footballer or get where you are through hard work?
A bit of both. I think you've always got to work hard. I just like kicking a ball about. When you're given a chance like I was at Arsenal you've got to work hard to make the most of it.
Was it frustrating not to be able to play with the boys?
It was before I went to Arsenal. I was always playing with boys I had grown up with outside of school though. I think it's nice to have a balance of playing with girls and boys. When I first started with the boys it was quite hard. They wouldn't want me to play, but I would run round them a couple of times and then they'd be kicking lumps out of me.
What have been the high and lows of your career so far?
The European Championships were amazing and getting to the World Cup finals in Chile (in 2008) is also brilliant. I haven't really had any lows luckily - probably being injured. I hurt my shoulder in a Phase Two European qualifier. It's disappointing when you sit out games, but it gives you the motivation to get back playing as quick as you can - I was determined to make the European Championships and it was good to get back in.
What are your footballing ambitions?
To try and get into the senior (England) squad. I have met a few of the girls before. I want to push on; you look at who is in your place and want to get where they are. I'll be happy if I'm ever half as good as Kelly Smith (England and Arsenal midfielder); she's amazing.
What is your most vivid sporting memory?
Probably England's 5-1 win against Germany and Owen's finishing in that game. I've recently asked for the 1966 World Cup match for my birthday which was amazing - the boots they used to wear, the ball and everything.
Who are your heroes?
A bit Gary Lineker and a bit Beckham. Lineker because of his ability as a striker and Beckham because he refuses to be put down and works really hard to prove people wrong.