Ella Toone is willing “role model” Ellen White to smash the England goalscoring record as they prepare to head into World Cup qualifying battle with Northern Ireland.
Manchester City striker White scored twice in last month’s 10-0 rout of Luxembourg and heads into Saturday’s game at Wembley on 43 international goals, just three adrift of Kelly Smith’s leading mark.
Manchester United playmaker Toone watched the 32-year-old from afar as she was making her way in the game and is hoping she can play a part in helping her reach her personal landmark.
She said: “There’s a picture of me and Ellen when I was about 10 – I must have gone to see her – so we always look a that photo.
“I’ve always grown up watching Ellen White. She’s been amazing for club and country. She’s just a prolific goalscorer and when you’re growing up, that’s what you see and you watch and you want to emulate when you’re growing up.
“She’s been a role model when I was younger and she still is now. She’s been great to come into camps and learn from.
“She’s been amazing for England and for club as well, and she deserves it. She works so hard in training and she’s an unbelievable goalscorer, so we can’t wait for her to reach that milestone in her career.”
Saturday’s game – the first competitive England Women’s international to be played at Wembley since it reopened in 2007 – will bring back happy memories for Toone, who made her senior debut for her country as a substitute in a 6-0 friendly victory over the same opposition in February and marked her big day with a goal.
The 22-year-old said: “[It brings back] really special memories for me. I made my senior Lionesses debut against Northern Ireland and managed to get a goal as well.
“I absolutely loved it – I still think about it now – and hopefully again on Saturday, I can recreate some special memories. I can’t wait for the game.”
Toone has been in impressive form for club and country since, but is in no mood to rest on her laurels.
Asked how her game had developed since that day, she said: “I think I’ve improved a lot – and I only want to keep improving as well.
“It seems like really long ago that I made my England debut and I’ve had a lot of camps since then where I’ve just been trying to learn a lot from the girls and get more minutes under my belt on the international stage.
“At United, I’ve been able to add goals and assists to the games that we’ve played in, but I just want to keep improving.”