Jill Scott has joined England football’s 100 cap club – but don’t expect the Sunderland girl to be easing her career down.
The in-form midfielder reached her century yesterday when she took her place in the midfield for the Lionesses in China, where Mark Sampson’s side beat Australia 1-0.
You don’t take anything for granted where England is concerned but I’m very proud todayJILL SCOTT
Scott missed a great saecond-half chance to mark her milestone with a goal, firing wildly over the bar of Lydia Williams.
But, ultimately, it would not matter and the 28-year-old celebrated with a deserve victory over the World Cup quarter-finalists in Yongchuan.
“I’m very proud,” Scott told the Echo from England’s team hotel.
The journey began in 2006 when she came on as a sub for the Lionesses against the Netherlands.
But the Manchester City star insists the journey is not over – in fact she is hoping to help England to Euro 2017 gold.
Scott was one of England’s stand-out players at the World Cupin Canada, where Mark Sampson’s team won bronze medals after beating Germany in the third/fourth place play-off match.
“I’m playing on, definitely,” she stressed. “I saw one story recently describe me as ‘a veteran midfielder’.
“I don’t know how to feel about that! But I intend to carry on.
“Over the past couple of years, I feel becoming a full-time professional with Man City has improved my game.
“I want to keep improving and I think I can carry on for a few good years yet.
“I believe Euro 2017 can be a target for England.
“We got bronze at the World Cup, so why shouldn’t gold be our aim?
“It’s a long way off and there is a lot of hard work in front of us before Euro 2017.
“But we have a lot of talented players and we’ll be giving it everything to win our first major tournament.”
The former Sunderland Ladies midfielder is just 15 caps behind hero David Beckham. But she admitted she never really dared dream of making the magical 100.
“Someone mentioned earlier this year that I was up to 90 or 91,” said the girl from Fulwell.
“The thought crossed my mind at that point, but even then you still don’t know, you could get an injury.
“You don’t take anything for granted where England is concerned but I’m very proud today.
“Days like this make it all worthwhile, all the hard work, all the highs and lows you experience in a career.”
Scott reached 99 when she played in Friday’s 2-1 defeat to hosts China. But she admitted that Sunday’s Wear-Tyne derby occupied her thoughts as much as cap 100.
“In China, it feels as though we are cut off from the outside, there is no Facebook or the like here,” she said. “There are Newcastle and Sunderland fans in our squad so there were shouts and groans from our rooms when the scores cames through.
“I’m so pleased we won, we needed that.”
One electronic message get through – a video from her beloved nephews, Dexter and Charlie.
“It was played at the team meeting and I had a tear in my eye and it takes a lot for me to cry,” she said.
Scott thanked family, friends, team-mates and coaches for their help in her career, especially her former Everton boss, Mo Marley, who handed her the first England U19 appearance.
“I must thank Mo for all she did at Everton for me and making me a better player.
“I thank [former boss] Hope Powell, I think I played something like 75 times for her and, obviously, Mark for continuing to pick me.”
In a career of highlight after highlight, four stand out for the midfield marvel.
“I came off the bench to score the winner in the 2009 Euro semi-final against Holland,” she said. “I’ve been honoured to play at three World Cups which have been really memorable.
“Just to get into the 2007 squad was great but then I played in all our games.
“In 2011, I was named in the team of the tournament which was fantastic. This year’s World Cup was great and bronze was the reward for all the hard work of the players, coaches, staff, officials everyone.”
Next step though for Scott and Co is gold.