Having overcome serious injury to be part of the England squad, fit-again captain Faye White is now "itching to get going" and guide her team to victory against Italy in their Group C opener.
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Having overcome serious injury to be part of the England squad at UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™, fit-again captain Faye White is now "itching to get going" and help her team to victory against Italy in their Group C opener.
The Arsenal LFC defender captained England at UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2005™ and in their run to the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup quarter-finals, though injuries have restricted her appearances in recent years. After a serious knee problem it was only late in Arsenal's 2008/09 double-winning campaign that the 31-year-old was able to train, but now she is willing and able to play her part in Finland.
"Would I have wanted to played more? Yes, but I feel quite strong coming back," White told uefa.com. "The last couple of months when I've been back in training have been going well so I am used to overcoming big setbacks; I've done it before and no doubt I'll do it again."
England manager Hope Powell admitted White's inclusion was "a gamble" but that the centre-back's determination to be included has enabled her to select "arguably the strongest squad we've had in my time". White, like Powell, is only focusing initially on qualifying from a section which also includes Russia and Sweden. "We feel confident we'll get out of the group, which is our main aim, but we know we're going to have to put in good performances if we want to win the first game – we won't take anything for granted," she said. "We look at Sweden as the favourites [for the group]: we view them as a strong team based on their previous tournament experience."
Tournament experience is a thing many of the England squad have in abundance too; 17 of the of the 22-strong party played in the World Cup two years ago and 14 featured in the 2005 European finals on home soil, when England fell at the group stage for the second time in succession. "The difference between now and 2005 is our experience," White said. "A lot of the players here now were in the squad back then so some of the youngsters such as Katie Chapman and Fara Williams have now been in three major tournaments – that's a big thing to draw on."