England Women's Longest Serving Captain Faye White 'Can't Understand' Calls For Smaller Goals

England's longest serving captain Faye White believes that introducing smaller goals would be a backwards step for the women's game.

Chelsea Women's boss Emma Hayes made the suggestion in May, feeling that instead of replicating the men's game they should "adapt it to our own sport and our physical expectations".

But White, who won one quadruple, two trebles and four doubles in her glittering stint at Arsenal Ladies, thinks that the potential change is not required.

Image: PA
Image: PA

"I can't understand that because it's fine if there's a short keeper but we also have tall keepers!" the 41-year old told SPORTbible.

"If some of the keepers are like 5ft 5 you're like, 'Well you probably shouldn't be a keeper' then!'

"You only have to look at [Hedvig] Lindahl who made an amazing penalty save right in the corner for Sweden against Canada and Karen Bardsley, who made a great save right into the top corner.

"I don't think it's a great thing for our game and making it accessible. We need it to be accessible for young children to play.

"We have a problem with a number of women's sides having to play at men's grounds at the moment and having another barrier as far as the goal size when you have to think about putting a match on, it wouldn't be as easy and accessible to help grow the game."

White captained England at the 2007 and 2011 Women's World Cups, where the Lionesses were knocked out at the quarter final stage.

They then achieved their best ever finish when they came in in Canada's edition of the tournament four years ago. With victory over reigning champions USA in tonight's semi-final, they can continue to help grow the women's game on these shores.

"We always knew in the past that every major tournament was our opportunity to showcase the game and you can see that with the Netherlands team that won the Euros two years ago - now you only have to look at them and the travelling fans that are coming out to support them this tournament," White added.

"Last time getting to the semi finals and third place was a big step as we'd never got the quarters before. Coming third is a big deal but equally we need to go that step further to capture more people's attention."

The mission in capturing more people's attention in this tournament has been going very well. Last week, a record peak UK TV audience of 7.6 million tuned in to watch Phil Neville's side beat Norway 3-0 in the quarter finals, beating the previous numbers in games against Cameroon and Scotland.

And White is loving the interest in this group of players in terms of the fans in attendance, those watching at home and the media.

"It's been amazing to see the coverage with the BBC viewing figures and the media interest - the amount of radio stations that want to talk about it and assess the performances.

"I was out there for the England-Scotland game and all of the fans in the stadium were travelling fans, there weren't really much locals. I remember in my last World Cup in 2011 it was very different.

"You would have a little pocket of travelling fans - there was the interest on the tele then because it was being shown but it's now that people are paying good money and travelling distances to support the women's team.

"Also there are pubs trying to create a similar atmosphere and support for the women's team as how people came out to the local pub for the men's last year so people can join together, be patriotic and support the women's team as well as the men's."

White is taking part in a Q&A prior to tonight's huge clash, with fans able to ask her thoughts on all the big issues surrounding the Women's World Cup.

Josh Lawless

Josh is a writer who specialises in football and wrestling. He has been published by Curzon Ashton FC, Late Tackle, Manchester City FC, The Mirror, Read Man City and Manchester Evening News. He provides coverage of professional wrestling and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the field - including the first UK interview with The Hardy Boyz after their return to WWE. He has never sported a pair of Lonsdale Slip-ons, contrary to reports.

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