England’s Jill Scott wins most of the Euros on home soil after a long road to the top | Women’s Euro 2022
Jill Scott has gone through many changes during his 16-year international career. The veteran midfielder is taking part in her 10th major tournament – four Euros, four World Cups and two Olympics – and the conditions are a far cry from her first outing with England.
When Scott was a child, she would wrap 5p coins in a piece of paper to try to earn an extra shot on the basketball arcade machines when she ran out of money. Now the team have one on hand, with the FA having built an environment at the Lensbury Hotel in London, where they will be based for the Euros, which is designed to give them everything they need on and off. off the field to perform.
“The preparation has been fantastic,” the 35-year-old said ahead of England’s second group game against Norway on Monday night. “To see what the FA have done for us here is amazing. We have a relaxation room which has darts and we even have one of those basketball things you get at entertainment so I will definitely be playing That will take us back to my days in Sunderland.
When Scott started, England players, in four regions, trained in local jails, which provided the best strength and conditioning equipment. But Scott’s exuberance got the better of her on one occasion, she recalls. “Yeah, I got kicked out of that prison gym, I think it was because I was too social,” she said with a smile.
“I had a great work ethic, but also a cheeky side. Maybe in the past it got me in trouble, but now I’d like to think I’m adding value to the environment off the pitch by being a little cheeky every once in a while.
Scott made his debut in 2006 and central contracts for England players were introduced in 2009. “I feel lucky that it gave me the chance to start training part-time with this contract in place”, she says. “Before that, my friends who I still have now – Rachel Brown-Finnis, Rachel Yankey, legends of the game – I know a lot of them were still working and playing for England and had to ask for time off to go and play. for their country.
“I consider myself very grateful to have trained and turned professional with Manchester City at the age of 26. There were times when it was difficult. When I played for Everton at the start, I was a coach at Sunderland and had to drive there three times a week There was no money involved It was begging, stealing or borrowing I remember regularly asking my mum £50 to fill up my Peugeot 106, which had four gears, and I was going down the M62 with a big AA roadmap – that probably shows my age, but that’s what you did.
“It would be about [asking my friends]: ‘Does anyone have a bed for the night?’ so you can stay and train the next day. It was difficult and if I was asked to do it now, I don’t know if I could. But it was the reality. I would never go back and change my background and I’m so thankful that there are things in place so the younger girls don’t have to go through this. I know it’s different. It’s fantastic to see the game where it is now.
The midfielder, who is a free agent after leaving City at the end of the season, has seen a lot but was still in awe of the crowd at Old Trafford for England’s first game of the tournament, the Austria lost 1-0. Less because of the numbers there, more because of the fan engagement.
“There were so many kids wearing the women’s kit and stuff like that, so you could see they were there specifically for the women’s team. You could really feel that yesterday,” she said. not say that it means more to me, because I do not think so, but in this trip that I did with England, 16 years old, it was a really special moment.
“I had a cup of tea around 1 a.m. [the morning after] because I couldn’t sleep thinking about all this. Every tournament has been so different.
“[Women’s football has] come a long way and everyone involved in women’s football – the players, the volunteers, the people who run the teams, the journalists who have followed the game for years for very little money – yesterday was a moment for everyone involved and I just hope we can make more of those moments over the next three and a half weeks.
“There’s a good feeling about this one, especially as it’s in England. A good start but we don’t want to get too carried away just yet.