Jill Scott has 149 appearances for England, and counting. Hopefully.
The Lionesses midfielder was a regular in the squad that underwhelmed at the SheBelieves Cup in March, playing in the defeats to the USA and Spain. The latter of which, nearly nine months ago, is still their most recent competitive fixture.
As the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the world, women’s football shut down and, in turn, the 33-year-old was forced to wait for friendlies against Germany and Norway in the last month to bring up her 150 – both of which were too cancelled in the midst of the virus spreading.
“Good things come to those that wait!” Scott remarks, jokingly. “If I do get selected for the next trip in February, it’ll have been a whole year, so I just have to be patient and keep working hard.
“I think pulling on an England shirt and obviously playing in front of the fans, you get a real buzz for it,” she continues. “You definitely are missing it, but it’s been great to be back with the girls.”
Jill Scott is a national treasure.— Lionesses (@Lionesses) November 17, 2020
ⓘ 𝗢𝗳𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝘀𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗰𝗲𝘀 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗿𝘂𝗲 pic.twitter.com/x27QXbxTFX
The Lionesses are currently undergoing a ten-day training camp at St. George’s Park, their third since the end of the first lockdown as they wait for competitive action.
For Scott, these meets are rewarding and the midfielder recognises the positives in the face of frustration: “Obviously you appreciate being around your teammates,” she says.
“When you’re with the same people, every single day, it’s quite nice to see new faces as well,” these coming in the form of young Liverpool starlet Rinsola Babajide and defender Lauren James, sister of Chelsea’s Reece.Embed from Getty Images
The side haven’t been short of game time, regardless. The Women’s Super League season started behind closed doors and the Lionesses have taken part in intra-squad friendlies, the most recent of which ended in an 8-1 defeat for Scott’s ‘England Home’ side at the bet365 Stadium in Stoke.
“The trips have been so competitive, they definitely have that international intensity. We played 70 minutes in the first few in-house friendlies and I was absolutely blowing, so I was glad they were only 70 at the time,” she says, smiling.
Now beyond her landmark 150th appearance, which Scott remains hopeful will come, the England squad are looking forward to an important few years ahead; with the Olympics, European Championships and World Cup all to come in consecutive years by 2023.
“I think we’re in a good place,” she claims, reassuringly. “There’s players going to the tournaments, there’s some new faces, and hopefully we can welcome fans back to the stadiums soon.
“We’re definitely very excited to start the journey again, which has been on the pause button at the minute.
“It’s all been crazy to be honest, obviously having locked down and having that time where we did lots of training on our own, and trying to push on with our physical side.
“Also the mental side of it, suddenly you haven’t got any challenges. I think I said my main challenge in lockdown was playing Monopoly on a Friday night, but with your club, you’re playing against Arsenal and Chelsea, and so that’s why I think now we’re trying to make the best of a bad situation.”
The Lionesses are next scheduled to be in action in February, although their opposition is yet to be announced.