Jill Scott aims to “squeeze the life” out the rest of her playing career after securing a short-term loan move from Manchester City to Everton for the remainder of the season and the midfielder is itching to earn her 150th cap for England.
Scott, who turns 34 next week, signed a two-year contract extension with City last summer which saw her combine playing with a coaching role, but she has now linked up with Willie Kirk’s squad in search of more game-time after making just two starts for her parent club this season.
Scott won the FA Cup with Everton in 2010 and played over 100 times for the club from 2006 to 2013. The midfielder insists it was an easy decision to return but is aware that she needs to earn her place in Kirk’s first team.
“It’s a great feeling really. I think it’s around 15 years ago that I first signed for this club, I was here for around seven years and then had another seven with Manchester City”, Scott told Sky Sports News.
“I thought a loan move was the right thing for me for the second half of the season and when I heard that Everton were interested it kind of just all made sense really and walking through these doors at Finch Farm I feel like I’ve made the right decision.
“I think it’s a new opportunity, people in previous interviews have touched on game-time and everyone who plays football wants to be playing on a weekend. But I know it’s going to be difficult, I’ve got to fight for my shirt.
“Training has been difficult this last week, there is a lot of good midfield players. I’m turning 34 next week but I still feel like I’ve got a lot to give and I’m just excited to get going really.”
Everton are fifth in the Women’s Super League having registered five wins, two draws, and three defeats so far this season, their latest victory being a 4-0 triumph over bottom-of-the-table Bristol City.
Scott feels she can have a positive impact on Everton’s ambitions for a top-four finish in the WSL this term and is excited to get to work with former City team-mates Izzy Christiansen and Claire Emslie.
She added: “Every time I hear about Everton I always hear about what a good team spirit they’ve got. You look at the success on the pitch this season, making the FA Cup final and seeing how well they are progressing under Willie.
“I’m fortunate to have played with Izzy Christiansen and Claire Emslie at Manchester City and they’re showing intentions to break into that top four and if I can help in any way with that then I’ll feel like this stint would have been worth it.”
‘Hopefully I can get the minutes to keep me in the international picture’
After an incredible career for the Lionesses which has spanned four World Cups and three European Championships, Scott is just one international match shy of achieving her 150th cap for England.
Only Fara Williams (172) has played more games for the national team. With the continued disruption to the England team’s international fixture schedule amid coronavirus, Scott is defiant that she will play on until she reaches that elusive milestone.
She said: “I’ve really missed playing for England, I think it’s been almost a year now because of Covid-19. Especially when you’re waiting on 149 caps the wait seems even longer but I just want to keep in the squad and keep working hard really.
“There is only one person who has achieved that [surpassing 150 caps] and that’s Fara Williams, so I’ve just got to keep going, as I said I still feel like I’ve got a lot of energy and my love for the game is still as high as ever so I’m going to squeeze the life out of this career I think.”
With the delayed Tokyo Olympics also just under six months away, Scott wants to represent Team GB this summer after being part of the side at London 2012, but admits a seat on the plane to Japan will be hard to come by given the competition for places in the squad.
“In the back of your mind when it’s a tournament year you do get excited about the prospect of going. I was fortunate enough to represent Team GB at London 2012 and it was one of the best experiences of my life”, Scott added.
“I think to keep myself in the framework I kind of needed a new opportunity and coming here, getting my head down and training well, and hopefully getting minutes can put me in the picture.
“But I’m under no illusions that it’s going to be easy I think that picking the squad for this Olympics will be the most difficult squad they have ever had to pick for. I’ve got to keep myself fresh and fit and keep improving.”
England stalwart Scott will bring a winning mentality to Everton and have a long-term impact at the club after signing a short-term loan, says manager Willie Kirk.
Scott – a three-time Women’s Super League winner – made only her second league start of the season for City on Sunday and her arrival is the “perfect fit”, according to Kirk.
“It was nice to surprise the world of women’s football because it is very difficult to surprise anyone now,” Kirk said.
“She’ll add a lot to us. She will certainly challenge our standards and although it is a short-term deal, I very much expect it to have a long-term impact.
“It’s about bringing winners to the club now. We have brought a lot of talent but we now need to bring winners, players who have already got medals in their trophy cabinet and want to continue winning and we can learn off that.
“I think we all know how good a player Jill is and if Jill is operating at the standards we know she can, she will certainly be on the pitch more than she won’t be.
“That will keep her happy and that will make sure we are operating at a high level.”