England women’s record goalscorer Ellen White said she was both lucky and honoured to end a “crazy” year by becoming an MBE.
White, who scored 52 goals in 113 England appearances, retired as a player in August after helping the Lionesses to Euro 2022 glory and announced she was pregnant earlier this month.
The 33-year-old former Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City striker told the PA news agency: “It’s been a crazy year to be honest.
“We obviously had an incredible summer with the Euros and then to announce my retirement, then announcing me and my husband were going to have a baby and then to top it all off, ending the year with an MBE.
“So it’s been an incredible year and I feel really lucky and honoured.”
England captain Leah Williamson was made an OBE while White’s other team-mates Lucy Bronze and Beth Mead also became MBEs.
Lionesses head coach Sarina Wiegman was also made a CBE on the Overseas List.
White said: “To be alongside Lucy, Beth and Leah in that sense and Sarina as well. I feel incredibly honoured.
“I would have snapped your hand off if someone had told me going into the Euros that the year would end this way. To receive the recognition of an MBE is such an honour.”
Chairman of the honours sport committee, Sir Hugh Robertson, has defended the decision not to recognise more members of the England squad.
He said the committee had stuck “to the principle of the honours, which is to recognise excellence and to recognise extraordinary contributions.”
White said: “If the awards were just based on the Euros you would hope that all 23 would be recognised.
“But I can only speak personally and I believe it’s for my whole career and the service, the football throughout my career.
“I don’t feel the Lionesses have gone unnoticed. The whole country got behind them and I feel the whole team has been recognised for what we achieved.”
White, now preparing for motherhood, said she had no aspirations to take up coaching.
“It’s going to be a crazy 2023 for me and my husband, but I want to stay involved in the game,” she said. “I want to continue to help grow the game and hopefully have some impact at grassroots level as well.
“I put in my statement when I retired that I want to see a lot more opportunities and accessibility for young people within football.
“Then maybe punditry, co-comms, that kind of thing as well. It’s been really exciting for me since I’ve retired, it’s been really fun and hopefully more opportunities in the new year as well.”
England have followed up their Euros triumph by finishing the year unbeaten, extending their run without defeat under Wiegman to 26 matches.
They are genuine contenders for next summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and White is optimistic they can become a dominant force.
She added: “Winning the Euros has given us that sense of a winning mentality. We said for so many years we wanted to win something, but we never did actually achieve anything.
“We’re on a great path. It’s not easy to achieve what Germany and the USA have, but we’re on the right path to potentially achieve something really special. I think it’s going to be a really great summer for the girls coming up.”