White: Manchester derby rivarly will provide "amazing spectacle"

Sportsbeat
·4-min read
Ellen White shoots at goal for Man City (REUTERS/Facundo Arrizabalaga)
Ellen White shoots at goal for Man City (REUTERS/Facundo Arrizabalaga)

Ellen White has no doubt in her mind that the Manchester derby will be an “amazing spectacle” as the much-anticipated fixture takes headline billing on Women’s Football Weekend.

The inaugural weekend celebration of the women’s game last season saw more than 75,000 fans attend Barclays FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship fixtures.

But while current government Covid-19 restrictions mean supporters are not able to attend games this time around, the return of Women’s Football Weekend will see every match broadcast live.

And it doesn’t get any bigger than the curtain-raiser as White's Manchester City visit Leigh Sports Village to take on league leaders Manchester United for a derby that the 31-year-old is confident will live up to the hype.

“I think it’s a great rivalry and to have it within the women’s game as well is incredible. Hopefully we can put on a big performance,” said City and Lionesses striker White.

“It’s one of those I’ve watched and seen over the years in the men’s game and Man United put the funding in and wanted to make a women’s team and they got promoted into the WSL.

“Obviously it was an exciting prospect, it’s a major game, derby day is always exciting with a bit of spice to it as well. I’m obviously very privileged and lucky to play for Man City.

“It’s an amazing spectacle, it’s a shame that we can’t get fans to the game and friends and family but we hope that everyone is back at home supporting and cheering us on.

“I think that’s what makes it so exciting is that the competition is getting more and more, the league is getting better and better, there’s more players wanting to come over and play in our league.

“The calibre of players that want to come and play in our league is incredible and the competitiveness and the professionalism of all the teams is getting bigger and better.

“It is exciting because you’re having to work harder and harder in training to improve and get better. Every game is tough and there’s different results within the league coming up every week.

“So I just find it really exciting and hopefully in that sense it’s growing our game and spreading awareness of women’s football and the visibility aspect as well.”

Casey Stoney’s United are only in their second season in the Women’s Super League but are unbeaten in the 2020/21 campaign and sit at the summit of the table.

An indifferent start from City sees them currently sit in fifth, five points behind their rivals, meaning many have described United as the favourites - a tag that does not bother White in the slightest.

“I think that’s fine if everyone wants to put them as the favourites,” she said. “We’ll concentrate on what we can do, how we can perform, the intensity of our play and wanting to win three points.

“We’ll be really diligent and professional in how we approach the game, it’s a massive game, it’s a Manchester derby and we’re really excited by it.

“It probably doesn’t need any extra spice. Obviously, we’ve watched the games they’ve played and they’ve had a really good start to the season and we’re concentrating on what we can do.

“I feel like we’ve got a really good momentum going forward now. It’s a massive game for us and a good chance to put some points on the board and hopefully come away with three points.”

And while White admits it is a shame that fans will not be able to attend the games, she hopes the staggered fixture schedule will only shine more light on women’s football this weekend.

“Last year we got so many fans out watching and supporting and got so much coverage, so much visibility of women’s football and this weekend, every game has been staggered,” she said.

“Every kick-off has been staggered so that there’s a great chance for fans back home to support every team in the Women’s Super League and in the Championship.

“It’s a really exciting weekend to really push women’s football in the limelight and have a little bit more visibility as well for women’s football for everyone back home.

“It would’ve been an incredible crowd but unfortunately, we can’t quite have that but hopefully we can have as many fans as possible watching the game at home, supporting at home.”

To follow the action and sign up for The FA Player’s live Barclays FA Women’s Super League coverage visit womenscompetitions.thefa.com