In the last of Sky Sports News’ Series Lionesses headliner Faye White recounts her journey to becoming England Women’s captain, explaining how she went from not playing regularly to earning a few caps and eventually being handed the armband.
White first said Sky Sports News how his football career took off, saying: “I was one of the first players in the top league to get a call-up and that was in September 1995.
“Before you were told by letter, and there were all the other names of who is in the England squad and who was selected. And there was mine. I think I was around 16 or 17 year.
“I had been selected before. So maybe I was on the radar. We played against Arsenal and then suddenly everything went from there. It was only a few years before that I I had learned that there was an England team.”
She adds, “It was a bit of a quick turnaround. Just because you were young, it wasn’t very easy. It was getting up to speed or you’re going to be shipped. You have to prove yourself.”
In 2001, the Euros was a huge step forward in White’s career, representing England at the tournament.
“It wasn’t until 2001 when it was the first Euro game that we played against Germany,” she explained. “Mo Marley had played the first two games and I was thrown. We hadn’t qualified. We knew we weren’t going to progress and I started against Germany.
“It was the hottest day I’ve ever had, playing a game of football in 35 degree heat. It was really sink or swim. I had to play and show what it meant to me.
“I had had a long spell in the team, but I hadn’t really played a lot of games, then quickly at the start of 2002 I got a few caps and played regularly.”
As White’s international career gained momentum, then-manager Hope Powell told White she believed the defender had the potential to become England’s next captain.
“Hope took me aside on the way back down the tunnel and told me to come and talk to me. At that time I didn’t talk to the coach much, I was quite shy,” White said.
“She just said, ‘Today I want you to prove to me that you’re going to be England captain in the future, you can do it.
“I didn’t really know what that meant, and I suddenly went from not playing a few caps regularly, to Hope seeing that in me.”
After an exciting career, White also revealed some of the challenges her team faced, saying: “I think one thing for me was obviously as a young player suddenly going straight into the seniors, the importance of doing in so that young players feel more accepted and feel more important, as if they had a voice.
“But also, it was about being professional and trying to change the mindset, not only of the players but also of the press, to remove the stereotypes around amateur footballers.
“We had to be professional before being considered and making sure we were doing everything right in our lives, but also trying to deal with that. It was quite difficult.
“We had to raise awareness of the game and raise the standards to play at the highest level, against the best teams. That would ultimately improve us.”
During White’s career, she also earned 90 caps for England, most of them made when she was captain.
Explaining his leadership style, White said: “I may not have been very vocal off the pitch. But on the pitch, that’s where I came alive.
“I knew you had to perform and at the end of the day you have to be that player. Fortunately, in a few World Cups I managed to do that, and others too.
“It’s funny how people’s perceptions or behaviors of you change. [when you’re captain]. You are used to being a normal player in the team so people act very differently around you.”
Leah Williamson will captain the current England squad ahead of the Women’s Euro this summer. Faye also offered some of her own advice, adding: “Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. She’s calm, but in the end she performs, and it’s the figure that will prevail.
“I think with the captaincy the media often puts more pressure on it. But nowadays there are more leaders in the team.
“At the end of the day, enjoy it, savor it, learn, be adaptable, be flexible and do it your way.”
Follow Euro 2022 on Sky Sports
Catch up on all the latest Euro 2022 news on Sky Sports and Sky Sports News this summer.
Coverage will be anchored by Sky Sports WSL presenter Caroline Barker, alongside Jessica Creighton and Kyle Walker. Meanwhile, Karen Carney, Sue Smith, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and Laura Bassett will provide analysis throughout the tournament.
They will also be joined by experienced England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley and Manchester City defender Esme Morgan.
Pundits and presenters will work from the Sky Sports Women’s Euro 2022 mobile presentation bus, which will follow the Sky Sports News team around the country to the various stadiums where the matches are taking place.
Additionally, Sky Sports’ essential football podcast will be rebranded for the Sky Sports Women’s Euros Podcast Tournament from June 21. Hosted by Charlotte Marsh and Anton Toloui, it will feature exclusive news and player interviews in addition to a solid tournament programme.
Euro 2022: The groups…
Group A: England, Austria, Norway, Northern Ireland
Group B: Germany, Denmark, Spain, Finland
Group C: Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal, Switzerland
Group D: France, Italy, Belgium, Iceland
Euro 2022: The schedule…
Wednesday July 6
Group A: England v Austria – Kick off 8pm, Old Trafford
Thursday July 7
Group A: Norway v Northern Ireland – kick off 8pm, St Mary’s
Friday July 8
Group B: Spain v Finland – Kick off 5.00pm, Stadium MK
Group B: Germany v Denmark – Kick off 8pm, London Community Stadium
Saturday July 9
Group C: Portugal vs Switzerland – kick off 5pm, Leigh Sports Village
Group C: Netherlands v Sweden – kick off 8pm, Bramall Lane
Sunday July 10
Group D: Belgium v Iceland – Kick off 5.00pm, Manchester City Academy Stadium
Group D: France vs Italy – kick-off 8pm, New York Stadium
Monday July 11
Group A: Austria v Northern Ireland – kick off 5pm, St Mary’s
Group A: England v Norway – kick off 8pm, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium
tuesday july 12
Group B: Denmark v Finland – Kick off 5.00pm, Stadium MK
Group B: Germany v Spain – Kick off 8pm, London Community Stadium
Wednesday July 13
Group C: Sweden v Switzerland – kick off 5pm, Bramall Lane
Group C: Netherlands-Portugal – kick-off 8pm, Leigh Sports Village
Thursday July 14
Group D: Italy v Iceland – Kick off 5pm, Manchester City Academy Stadium
Group D: France vs Belgium – kick-off 8pm, New York Stadium
friday july 15
Group A: Northern Ireland v England – kick off 8pm St Mary’s
Group A: Austria v Norway – Kick off 8pm, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium
Saturday July 16
Group B: Finland v Germany – Kick-off 8pm, Stadium MK
Group B: Denmark v Spain – Kick off 8pm, London Community Stadium
Sunday July 17
Group C: Switzerland vs Netherlands – kick off 5pm, Bramall Lane
Group C: Sweden v Portugal – kick off 5pm, Leigh Sports Village
Monday July 18
Group D: Iceland vs France – kick-off 8pm, New York Stadium
Group D: Italy v Belgium – Kick off 8pm, Manchester City Academy Stadium
Wednesday July 20
Quarter-final 1: Winners Group A v Runners-up Group B – kick off 8pm, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium
Thursday July 21
Quarter-Final 2: Group B Winners v Group A Runners-up 8pm, London Community Stadium
friday july 22
Quarter-final 3: Winners Group C v Runners-up Group D – kick-off 8pm, Leigh Sports Village
Quarter-Final 4: Winners Group D v Runners-up Group C – kick-off 8pm, New York Stadium
tuesday july 26
Semi-Final 1: Quarter-Final Winners 1 v Quarter-Final Winners 3 – Kick-off 8pm, Bramall Lane
Wednesday July 27
Semi-Final 2: Winner Quarter-Final 2 v Winner Quarter-Final 4 – Kick-off 8pm, Stadium MK
Sunday July 31
Winners Semi-Final 1 v Winners Semi-Final 2 – Kick-off 5pm, Wembley