England forward Ellen White scored the Lionesses’ second and ultimately decisive goal in their Women’s World Cup opener against Scotland on Sunday, marking her 29th international strike with her now customary ‘glasses’ celebration.
White often wears glasses herself off the pitch, but the reason behind her celebration is rather bizarre as it is actually a tribute to journeyman French striker Anthony Modeste.
The 31-year-old, who scored prolifically for Köln in Germany prior to joining Chinese Super League side Tianjin Quanjian, before then going AWOL, returning to Köln and suing the CSL club, has celebrated his goals in the same way for years.
“Her favourite player is Anthony Modeste from FC Köln,” White’s father Jon told BBC Radio 5 Live the morning after his daughter’s calm and deadly finish against the Scots.
White herself actually spoke about the celebration in the past as well, explaining its roots after scoring the only goal in a landmark win over the United States in the 2017 SheBelieves Cup.
“Me and my husband are big fans of the German league, the Bundesliga, and one of my favourite players [Modeste] for Köln, that’s his celebration, so for me and Callum [husband], that’s what I do. So it was for him, to be honest,” the player said.
That’s the same Modeste who failed to score once in a nine-game loan at Blackburn in 2012, but he was briefly one of the hottest strikers in Europe a few seasons ago, netting 27 times in 37 games in all competitions for Köln during the 2016/17 campaign.
An experienced international since 2010 and now at her third World Cup, White is expected to lead the line for England throughout the tournament. At club level, she also recently secured a transfer to Manchester City ahead of the 2019/20 Women’s Super League season.