Ellen White spoke of her pride after breaking England Women’s all-time scoring record in the remarkable 20-0 victory over Latvia in Doncaster.
White scored twice early on in the World Cup qualifier at the Keepmoat Stadium to take her level with and then past Kelly Smith’s mark of 46 goals, before adding another effort shortly after the break to complete her hat-trick.
The 32-year-old forward, who was making her 101st England appearance, told a press conference after the match: “It feels very nice. I don’t know if you could see it, but it was very emotional on the pitch. I feel very proud to represent my country, to score goals.
“I think for me, it was all about the team tonight. But I feel very proud.
“I just feel really lucky to be honest, to be in this England team. The support I have from my family is amazing, I owe a lot to them, and the goals are all for them really because I just want to make them proud.
“It (the record) has been spoken about so much and I didn’t want to talk about it for a while. I feel really lucky that I can now just concentrate on the team and enjoy playing for England.”
Asked on ITV4 what she would have said if told as a schoolgirl she would one day become England’s record goalscorer, White said: “I’d say you’re having a laugh! It’s incredible. But I’m not stopping here. I still want to score goals for England.”
White’s Manchester City and England team-mate Steph Houghton – currently out injured – said in a video message on the club’s Twitter account: “Ellen White, what can I say – absolutely unbelievable person and absolutely unbelievable player.
“You thoroughly deserve it because of all the hard work you’ve put in on and off the training pitch. You’re an amazing team-mate and also an unbelievable best friend.”
Harry Kane, closing in on the men’s team’s scoring record, said in a video message on England’s official Twitter feed: “Hi Ellen, I just wanted to send you congratulations on reaching the highest goalscorer for England Women – amazing achievement, fully deserved and I’m sure there’s a few more to come as well. Massive congratulations.”
White was one of four hat-trick-scorers on the night – Lauren Hemp netted four times, while Beth Mead and substitute Alessia Russo also registered trebles.
Beth England notched a brace, and there were also goals from Ella Toone, Georgia Stanway, with a penalty, Jess Carter, Jill Scott and Jordan Nobbs as the Lionesses, who were 8-0 up at half-time, recorded their biggest competitive victory, surpassing a 13-0 victory over Hungary in 2005.
Boss Sarina Wiegman was asked if there was a case for a rule change so certain teams had to play pre-qualifiers, and she said: “I think we have to look at it. Of course you want competitive games, and these are not competitive games.
“We want to develop the already well-developed countries and the countries that are not that far. In every country you want to develop the women’s game. But I don’t think it’s good that the scores now are so high.
“I know that has the attention of the federations and UEFA and FIFA, and I think that’s good, because I don’t think a 20-0 is good for the development of anyone.”
She added: “Football is about scoring goals and winning, and whoever is in front of you, you want to score goals. So if we can score 20, we are going to score 20, and if we can score 25, we’ll score 25.
“I do think it’s not good for the development of the game, but that is what the game is about, scoring goals.”
The result made it six wins from six for England – who beat Latvia, ranked 102nd in the world, 10-0 away last month – in Group D, in which they have registered 53 goals and conceded none.
That has been their first six games under Wiegman, who said: “We really need some top-level games now. We’re doing very well, but we need those high-level games to really know where we stand.”