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Scott marks milestone with archetypal performance

Scott marks milestone with archetypal performance

24/06/2019 at 00:32Updated 24/06/2019 at 01:37

She might not always catch the eye or grab the headlines, but the longevity of Jill Scott's England career must be applauded.

Jill Scott stands out in a crowd. At five foot eleven inches, one might expect her to be a centre half, or an old-fashioned centre forward, but she marshals the England midfield, as she has done in the previous three World Cups.

When she started against Cameroon in the 2019 Round of 16 it was her 18th appearance in a World Cup Finals - making her the most capped England player, male or female, in the tournament.

And she is still only 32.

Scott's importance to England's success could be overlooked, but the miles she puts in are invaluable - as is her spirit. As the common thread from 2007's campaign in China through to today, she has been turned to as the senior player and spokesperson on several occasions, and the thrust of her words tend to be the same - they focus on the team ethos.

2007 England Women's World Cup Jill Scott

2007 England Women's World Cup Jill ScottReuters

"You win as a team, you lose as a team" were her words on Twitter in 2011. It followed then-coach Hope Powell's suggestion that some members of the squad showed cowardice by not putting themselves forward to take penalties against France in the quarter-final.

Scott repeated herself four years later, after centre half Laura Bassett's own goal put the Lionesses out of the competition at the semi-final stage.

"We win as a team and lose as a team...I am sure Laura is devastated but if something happens to one of us, it happens to all of us."

England's Jill Scott and Jodie Taylor show their disappointment after the World Cup defeat to Japan

England's Jill Scott and Jodie Taylor show their disappointment after the World Cup defeat to JapanReuters

It was Scott urging her team-mates on during the chaotic Cameroon match, most notably encouraging them to push forward and look for a second goal after skipper Steph Houghton had opened the scoring - and Ellen White obliged in additional time.

She might not be as eye-catching in style of play or mannerisms as some of her team-mates, who revel in the spotlight and the magazine covers. But the longevity of her career and the big match experience she brings are both as key as her industry.

Coach Phil Neville recognises that, knowing she will be difficult to replace should she consider stepping back from international football.

"To say that I’m at my fourth World Cup still seems a bit surreal," Scott admitted before the World Cup started. "I know Phil’s done a couple of interviews where he’s said it won’t be my last tournament. I keep saying to him, 'Llet’s just try to get through this one first.’

“I think that’s the type of person I am. I don’t really like to look too far ahead. I’d like to think I’m in that mindset and it’s got us here today.

“But I’m enjoying my football, I feel physically fine, and as long as I’ve still got a smile on my face, I’ll keep trying to play for as long as I can.”

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