Heading into her tenth major tournament this summer, Jill Scott has seen it all. Making her senior debut back in 2006, she celebrated 150 Lionesses appearances in February 2021 and she is now on her way to a home EUROs.
Despite holding a solid place within the England squad, Scott was still as nervous as ever on final team selection day as she waited to hear Sarina Wiegman’s verdict. FAWSL Full-Time caught up with Scott at an England media day to hear all about the moment that she heard the news of her selection and the pressure of preparing for a home tournament.
“I think I was relieved to be honest, I definitely felt the pressure,” Scott said. “If you look around the team and the 28 that we had, the talent in that group was absolutely massive so it was probably one of the worst days of my life to be honest, waiting to hear if you’d got in.
“If I’m being honest, I probably wasn’t listening too much in that moment, I was just waiting to hear if it was yes or no. It was a bit like X-Factor then it was just a sense of relief after that.”
Unlike with previous tournament selections where players got a phone call or E-mail, Wiegman opted for a face-to-face meeting to deliver the news; something that Scott explained she wanted to do to show respect to the situation.
Scott recalls the day with a smile saying “We were all waiting, a lot of us were having coffees and you’d just get a text saying you had your meeting. I think I’d had about three flat whites by mine so I was probably shaking even more by then. She actually said ‘you look the most nervous I’ve ever seen you look’ and I’m just thinking ‘just say yes or no, just say yes or no.’”
As the most senior member of the team, Scott has been around for a lot of the squad’s big moments but with so much young talent coming in, the competition for places is higher than ever. A loan move from Manchester City to Aston Villa has allowed her to have a lot more game time in preparation for the tournament.
“I still believe I can contribute on the pitch but it’s no secret that over the past years, I haven’t had a huge amount of game time for England,” Scott said. “I’m always training hard, bringing energy, bringing 100%, always communicating and always checking in with the girls away from the pitch if they’re struggling with anything.
“As you get older, you do think about things a lot more. I look at Lauren Hemp, Jess Carter and the others and when I was younger, you’d come to these days and it was just about this day but when you get older, you do think ahead to the games and the crowds a little bit more.”
With Scott’s experience also comes knowledge of how much has changed in women’s football. Now, 17 years after England last hosted the UEFA Women’s EURO, all eyes will be on the Lionesses.
“The pressure changes with more eyes on the team and more eyes on you as an individual,” Scott said. “This is where we’ve wanted the women’s game to go and we’ve got to go out there and enjoy every minute. There’s going to be a lot of expectation but you’ve seen the talent in the group – we want that because we think we can deal with that.”
Under the watchful eyes of head coach Wiegman, England will kick-off the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 against Austria at Old Trafford on 6 July.
By Louise Golby