Women's Team

Scott: I’ve learned so much

Whatever Jill Scott’s next chapter holds, the City legend will take with her countless memories, friends and a wealth of invaluable experience.

The 35-year-old has called time on her eight-and-a-half year spell at the Club, bringing to an end a remarkable chapter, which has yielded eight trophies for our iconic number eight!

A midfield engine on the pitch with her tireless work ethic and inspirational leadership, our first signing as a professional team back in November 2013 has played an integral role in our success at the heart of midfield, and as the heart of the dressing room.

Reflecting on her journey, she says she could not be more proud and has learned so much along the way.

“You don’t think about it until these moments but to be part of that history from the start in 2013, people do say: ‘You’ve played a big part’ and I’d like to think I have,” she said.

“The trophies we’ve won have been fantastic. I’m forever grateful that I was surrounded by good, talented players who have enabled me to play a certain way.

“I’d like to think I’ve developed a lot. Credit to all of the players I’ve played with – being a part of that midfield, playing alongside Caroline Weir, Keira Walsh, Georgia Stanway in that system, you need them to give you the ball and you need to be able to read their movements.

“The whole way the system and the team clicks in terms of playing and being in possession but also the work rate and commitment off the ball – you look at the likes of Lucy Bronze, Steph Houghton and Demi Stokes, who are incredible athletes – and that’s what has enabled us to win games: the whole package.

“It’s down to them that I was able to put in some okay performances over the years!

“When Nick [Cushing] first game in, he showed us a way of playing football that we really believed in. I’d been in football for a long time but I was learning things at 26, 27, 28 that I never knew before.

“You have to be ready for every single session. Every time I stepped onto the training pitch, I was looking at the players around, knowing I had to be at the top of my game because every session was difficult.

“You have to make sure your life commits to that. It’s kind of cliché but it’s about making sure you’re looking after yourself, getting the right sleep… If you want to be the best, you have to train with the best and be at your best every day.

“If you want to be in the team, playing in the Champions League, the league, the FA Cup, the Continental Cup, you have to be ready every single game. Playing lots of games, it can be tiring, especially when you play a full season and go into a World Cup, or Euros; then you’re back for another season.

“As football has moved on, there’s also a lot more pressure in terms of playing in front of 50,000 people. That’s been the biggest learning: as the game gets bigger, the more pressure and more demand you have.

“You have to take good care of yourself. It has been a challenge and a learning, playing so many games, but if you commit yourself every day, lifting trophies at the end makes it all worthwhile.

“With the amount of sports science, nutrition and analysis support that we get now, we’re really looked after and there’s no excuse not to perform for Club or country.”

Though the winners’ medals will glisten in her trophy cabinet for many years to come, Scott also expressed immense pride for the up-and-coming stars that will shine in future City and England teams.

“My favourite thing is seeing Keira Walsh, Ellie Roebuck and Georgia Stanway now,” she added.

“I remember them coming into training as kids and now, they’re some of the biggest names in women’s football.

“For me, one of the most pleasing things about the team is the younger players and how they handle themselves now in bigger games.

“There have been special moments but there have also been special journeys for special players.

“We talk about ‘leaving the shirt in a better place’ but it’s also about guiding those players who are going to wear the shirt next – let them know you’ve put in a lot of hard work and hopefully they will do the same.”

Scott’s final game in City colours saw the midfielder cheer on her teammates at Wembley in the FA Cup Final, as the Continental Cup winners and FA Women’s Super League Champions locked horns in front of a record crowd, just shy of 50,000.

With the Women’s Euros to be played on home soil this summer, it is a very exciting time for the women’s game and Scott says she cannot wait to see what the future has in store.

“It’s so exciting,” she smiled. “It gives me goosebumps thinking about it!

“A home Euros… I remember the last one in 2005 – I went as a fan the year before I made my debut!

“It’s mad to think there will be girls there who are playing in the younger age groups, watching the team, and then they could be making their debut next year...

“The crowds are ridiculous. I went to Wembley the other day, supporting the girls, and seeing 50,000 people there – some with names on the back of their shirts, girls talking about certain players when walking to get the tube… Although we didn’t get the win, it was a proud moment.

“It was mad being on the other side, seeing families who were nervous or excited, who had immense pride for their family.

“You can’t really believe it. People talk about it and maybe when you stop playing, you reflect and you can see more visually but it is incredible really.

“The rise in the game has been magnificent and I’ll be forever grateful that I’ve played a really small part in it.”

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