Ellen White: Steph Houghton aided England striker's Man City move

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Ellen White on England success and joining Man City
England v Brazil
Venue: Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough Date: Saturday, 5 October Kick-off: 12:45 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC One and online, live text commentary and match report on the BBC Sport app.

Ellen White says England captain Steph Houghton's advice helped her decide to join Manchester City this summer.

White, 30, scored six goals as the Lionesses reached the World Cup semi-finals in France, after she agreed a switch from Birmingham City in May.

But a knee injury sustained during pre-season has delayed her Man City debut.

As her recovery continues, the striker will miss England's friendlies against Brazil on Saturday [12:45 BST] and in Portugal on Tuesday, 8 October [19:00].

But White - who also played with Houghton at Leeds and Arsenal - is hoping to feature alongside her "best friend" again when the Lionesses host Germany at Wembley on 9 November.

That international is set to be played in front of a record crowd for a women's match in England, with more than 77,000 tickets sold.

"Obviously I need to play for City [first] but the Wembley game is definitely one that I've been looking at and I'm hoping for," White told BBC Sport.

"To be involved would be incredible and hopefully it will be a sell-out, so I'd love to be playing.

"We've got a lot of exciting games coming up for City too and I want to be involved in them. We're doing very well so it'll be tough to get back in the squad but I can't wait to get back out there."

How White was 'sold on Manchester'

Ellen White
Ellen White has also previously played for Chelsea, Leeds, Arsenal, Notts County and Birmingham

White helped Birmingham finish fourth in the top tier last term before agreeing her move to City, who won last season's Women's FA Cup and Continental Tyres League Cup.

And White says City skipper Houghton, who has been with Nick Cushing's side since 2014, was a key influence in her decision.

"I spoke to Steph and, while playing in the same team as your best friend is a dream, it wasn't really about our friendship as such," White added.

"I wanted to know the culture, the environment and what the coaching is like, asking her 'are you being developed, what are you doing in training?'

"I wanted to know the more in-depth pieces of information and she was really good. She sold me on Manchester life.

"I was approached by Nick Cushing and [City's head of women's football] Gavin Makel and I felt very privileged and proud that they wanted me to be a part of Manchester City."

'I can't wait to be fit'

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'Not again!' White 'equaliser' ruled out by VAR

This summer's World Cup saw White finish level on goals with Golden Boot winner Megan Rapinoe, but miss out on the individual trophy on assists.

Reflecting on England's semi-final loss to Rapinoe's United States side, White added: "Initially it was hugely disappointing as we genuinely believed we were going to win.

"Now reflecting back I'm hugely proud to have been a part of such a massive World Cup and to have made such a big impression back home, in terms of the nation getting behind us.

"But yes, it's still niggling, I still get annoyed, and I still think about some of the games.

"But that's the nature of sport - you've got to have someone that wins and someone that loses, and unfortunately we were the ones that didn't quite make it in the end."

Tipped to shine in this season's Women's Super League after her World Cup displays, White's campaign was halted when she required knee surgery in August.

"In shooting practice, I felt something go in my knee," White said. "I knew it was something not quite right, and I had a scan and found out I had torn my meniscus.

"It was really frustrating, coming into a new team off the back of the World Cup and then having to be on the sidelines and having to watch, but I'm trying to get back as fast as I can.

"I can't wait [to be fit]. So many people keep asking me and I'm just like 'soon, soon'.

"I don't want to put a specific date on it because I don't want to fail in getting to that, but I'm hoping to get in a shirt soon."

Wembley
A record crowd for an English women's football match is expected at Wembley in November for the visit of Germany

City aim to 'right wrongs' in Atletico rematch

England's October friendlies against Brazil - at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium - and Portugal have come too soon for White.

But she jokes that England boss Phil Neville has been "annoying" her on Whatsapp as both hope she will be fit to face Germany in November.

Before then, City's European campaign will resume with their last-16 tie against Spanish league champions Atletico Madrid.

The English club will host the first leg on 16 October, before the return leg two weeks later in the Spanish capital.

Atletico - who signed England's former Manchester City forward Toni Duggan from Barcelona this summer - eliminated City in the round of 32 last term.

"We're all excited, everyone in the Whatsapp group was just like 'yeah let's go for it'," White said of being drawn to face Atletico.

"As we got knocked out to Atletico last year, we want to right some wrongs. We've developed as a team since the last time we played them.

"Being a Spanish side they'll be really technically gifted. They've got some quick players as well and they are well organised. It'll be a tough battle but I'm hopeful we'll come out on top."

Ellen White was speaking to BBC Sport's Jo Currie.

BBC Sport has launched #ChangeTheGame to showcase female athletes in a way they never have been before. Through more live women's sport available to watch across the BBC in 2019, complemented by our journalism, we are aiming to turn up the volume on women's sport and alter perceptions. Find out more here.