Lauren Hemp's versatility will function as one of the Lionesses’ most potent weapons at the Women’s World Cup, according to record goalscorer Ellen White.

North Walsham star Hemp, 22, started every game of England’s triumphant Euro 2022 campaign last year and will look to do the same again when Sarina Wiegman’s side begin their quest Down Under on Saturday morning against Haiti (10.30am UK time).

White, who racked up 52 international strikes before her retirement after England’s memorable European triumph at Wembley, believes the Norfolk native's link-up with fellow Manchester City winger Chloe Kelly could prove vital as England go in search of a first Women’s World Cup trophy.

North Norfolk News: Ellen White, right, with England manager Sarina Wiegman Ellen White, right, with England manager Sarina Wiegman (Image: PA Images)

The former Manchester City striker, 34, said: “I think that's our strongest combination of wingers.

“They can switch, they can play on the left on the right. 

“And Lauren could even play up top. 

“I was very blessed when I was at City that I was in the middle and I literally was getting crosses from the left and from the right from both Chloe and Lauren. 

“They're so talented and I'm hoping they just go and express themselves and just enjoy themselves at this World Cup.”

North Norfolk News: Lauren Hemp, centre, with some England team-mates at the Brisbane StadiumLauren Hemp, centre, with some England team-mates at the Brisbane Stadium (Image: PA Images)

White was speaking at grassroots club Actonian Girls FC in London, who were launching a new junior team with the Lionesses’ continued success galvanising the nation.

Former Norwich and Bristol City star Hemp will be making her World Cup debut this summer, but already has bags of experience, having won the PFA Women's Young Player of the Year on four occasions and establishing herself as one of her country’s best players.

After taking on World Cup debutants Haiti, England will face Denmark and China before potentially embarking on a tough run towards the final with Olympic gold medallists Canada, Euros runners-up Germany and co-hosts Australia all possible opponents in the early knockout stages.

And while White would love to see her former team-mates go all the way, she is advising them to stop and enjoy the journey.

“First and foremost, the goal is to top the group and to get out of our group,” she said.

“I think it's still a tough group to get out of because every team that we're playing is a very different style of play, but I'm hoping that they get to the latter stages. 

“But winning a major tournament isn't easy. So for me, I think it's for them to try and express themselves with passion and enjoy it and hopefully we will see them in the final.
“But it's for them just to go and express themselves and play well.”

National Lottery players raise more than £30million a week for good causes including vital funding into sport – from grassroots to elite. Find out how your numbers make amazing happen at: #TNLAthletes #MakeAmazingHappen