PHIL NEVILLE slammed “disrespectful” Ellen White doubters after she climbed off the bench to fire England’s winner.
The striker has been criticised by fans but netted the strike that keeps alive the Lionesses’ slim hopes of defending the SheBelieves Cup.
The Manchester City ace’s fine 83rd-minute finish at the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey handed her team just a third win in ten games.
Boss Neville said: “What’s been disrespectful over the last five days is the lack of respect for Ellen White and what she’s achieved.
“She’s one of the best strikers in the world and has set the bar really high.
“You look at Ellen’s record at this stadium — she scored two last year, one the year before — and I said to her, ‘Today you might think this is your lucky stadium, you’ll get on and score’.
“There’s a spirit of togetherness building. I’m proud of performances.”
Within 15 seconds Steph Houghton’s poor clearance let in Hina Sugita but she rifled over.
The first real chance for England came from 19-year-old Lauren Hemp, who oozed quality in the first half.
Chelsea’s Beth England bludgeoned through and played in the City forward, who forced Sakiko Ikeda into a fine save.
Moments later, Sugita found space and stung Ellie Roebuck’s hands with a long-range effort.
Everton’s Chloe Kelly, making her first start, then supplied a peach of a pass to England, who broke free but fired straight at the keeper.
After a quiet second half, Neville made five of his six subs with just over 20 minutes to go, including White for England.
Sugita and Shiori Miyake made a meal of it at the back to give Toni Duggan space.
And she picked out White, who coolly slotted into the left corner.
White said: “We wanted to put in a positive performance after the USA defeat and I thought we played with grit and determination.
“I love playing for England. It’s always a dream for me to contribute any way I can.”
The Lionesses’ last match is against Spain in Frisco, Texas, on Wednesday.