Neville hails White after SheBelieves Cup match-winner

Phil Neville during the press conference (Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra)

After Ellen White came off the bench to score the winner in their SheBelieves Cup clash against Japan, Phil Neville revealed he told the striker she would bag a goal before the match.

In defence of their crown, the Lionesses bounced back from a lacklustre 2-0 defeat to the USA with White netting in the 83rd minute to secure a 1-0 victory over the 2011 world champions.

The Red Bull Arena in New Jersey is a stadium which has proved fruitful for the Manchester City forward, who scored the winner against the USA in 2017 and bagged a brace against Germany in 2018.

And afterwards the England manager divulged his conversation with White pre-match as he acknowledged he wants to finish the campaign on a high with three points against Spain.

“I told her before the game that she would come off the bench and score,” said Neville.

“When you look at her record at this stadium, it's fantastic.

“We feel that within the camp there is a real spirit of togetherness building and that comes from winning - that is the most important thing about top-level sport.

“We should’ve really been 3-0 up at half time in this game and then as the game went on our control and patience was brilliant - I'm proud of their performances.

“We want another three points next time around. I think a total of six points from this SheBelieves campaign would be a fantastic effort from this team so that's the challenge over the next few days.”

It was a better performance from the Lionesses, who had more shots in the first half of the encounter than they did in 90 minutes against the USA.

Neville made six changes to the side with Ellie Roebuck, Chloe Kelly and Bethany England all starting the match and the England manager was impressed with his youngsters. 

“I thought Bethany England was fantastic in the first half and could have had a goal for herself,” he added.

“What you saw from Chloe Kelly is that she can play at this level, what you saw from Ellie Roebuck is that she is continuing her progression, and this is her level and Lauren Hemp was just born to play at this level.

“We have some really good young players and my only regret is that I couldn't get Alessia Russo or Grace Fisk on for a taste of the environment too.”