17 February 2021

Ellen White excited by chance to work with interim England boss Hege Riise

17 February 2021

Ellen White is looking forward to picking the brain of England interim head coach Hege Riise.

Striker White, part of the Lionesses squad for Tuesday’s friendly against Northern Ireland, said the Norwegian’s “credentials are pretty insane”.

Riise has been put in temporary charge of England after Phil Neville stepped down as boss in January to manage Inter Miami.

Hege Riise has been put in temporary charge of the Lionesses after Phil Neville stepped down as boss in January (PA). (PA Wire)

She oversees England camps in February, April and June ahead of Sarina Wiegman taking the reins in September, and is also set to be on the Great Britain coaching staff for the summer’s Tokyo Olympics, either as manager or assistant boss.

Riise won the World Cup, European Championship and Olympic gold as a player with Norway, and her subsequent coaching career has included another Olympic success as United States assistant boss and guiding LSK Kvinner to multiple league titles.

When asked about the 51-year-old on Wednesday, White said: “I haven’t actually spoken to her personally – we’ve had a welcome meeting where she’s kind of introduced herself.

“I’m looking forward to chatting with her. Her credentials are pretty insane, so I’m excited to kind of pick her brain about all the things she’s won. I’m excited to be working with her.”

The clash with Northern Ireland at St George’s Park will be England’s first international since last March.

Her credentials are pretty insane, so I'm excited to kind of pick her brain about all the things she's won.

White said: “It’s quite nice not to be playing an in-house game. We haven’t played a fixture in what is coming up to a year, so there’s a lot of excitement.

“I feel ready. I’m looking forward to preparing for a big game, and a massive test for us.”

White was also asked about the subject of online hatred in football.

And the Manchester City star made reference to the racist abuse recently suffered by 19-year-old Manchester United forward Lauren James – part of England’s training squad last November and currently injured – as she said “it’s something we need to stamp out”.

White has spoken about online hatred, including racist abuse suffered by Lauren James (Barry Coombs/PA). (PA Wire)

White said: “It’s horrendous, the types of comments and what people are saying, trolling, the abusive messages that are being sent to Lauren and a number of players in both men’s and women’s football. That needs to completely change and be completely taken out of the game.

“Lauren shouldn’t have to be going through and experiencing these type of comments.”

White’s England and City team-mate Alex Greenwood, who used to play for United alongside James, also on Wednesday gave her thoughts on online hatred.

“I’ve been through it myself. It’s not nice to see,” the defender said.

Alex Greenwood says online hatred is something she has experienced (Adam Davy/PA). (PA Wire)

“I’ve seen the situation with racism at the moment, the situation with the referee, death threats. It’s completely unacceptable.

“I’m totally aware that people have loyalties to clubs, which is normal. But I think when it crosses the line and becomes personal, something has to be done about it. It’s happened far too often now and for me, it seems like it’s getting worse.”

She added: “At Man City, we spoke about LJ’s situation, if there’s anything we can do to help her. And then individuals in the team, myself included, stuff I see on my Instagram, my Twitter – and that’s not just Manchester derbies or big games, that’s on a daily basis, it happens every single day.

“I think it’s how you learn to deal with it. That’s something I’ve learned to do. It doesn’t affect me maybe as it would have four, five months ago.”

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