Dream Sunderland return for Scott
Jill Scott believes the North East’s remarkable record of producing players for the England Women’s team will continue for years to come as the experienced midfielder looks to represent the Lionesses at her beloved Stadium of Light for the first time.
Scott has played for England and Great Britain across the globe during a career which has included four World Cups, three European Championships and two Olympic Games but she has yet to feature for her country in Sunderland.
Whilst the men’s team have played at the Stadium of Light in the past, Saturday’s 2023 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Austria will be the first time the Lionesses have played in Sunderland, where Scott was born and raised.
Tickets are still available for the crunch clash, priced at just £15 for adults, £5 for concessions and only £2.50 for under-16s.
See England in Sunderland
Scott has 153 senior England caps and was always hopeful to play for her country in the North East.
She said: “Obviously we have been fortunate enough to play in some fantastic places around the country and get some fantastic support and any of the girls who have had the opportunity to play in their home town always say it is so exciting.
“When it was announced I was ecstatic because there are a lot of people who say to me ‘When will there be a game in the North East?’ So it is nice that we finally have one.”
She continued: “I have been part of this team for about 15 years now and I have always thought a game at the Stadium of Light would be very exciting.
“Just the following for football up there. Over the years you have seen how many players have come through into the England first team who have started in the North East and I just feel there is a real love for the game up there. It is in your blood almost from a young kid. You learn to love the game.
“I am really excited and I think there will be a good crowd there on Saturday.”
Jill Scott & Ellen White | Questions
Jill Scott and Ellen White sit down for a game of Questions, where we find out a host of revealing things including who’s the worst dressed in the squad
Sunderland and the North East’s record for producing players for the England women’s senior team is remarkable.
Former Sunderland players Beth Mead, Jordan Nobbs, Demi Stokes and Scott have all been included in head coach Sarina Wiegman’s squad for November’s fixtures and that is just the tip of the iceberg, with long-time England captain Steph Houghton, Lucy Bronze – who was crowned the best player in the world last year, Olympian Carly Telford and Manchester United’s Lucy Staniforth among those from the region but not included in this squad for differing reasons.
“I think there must be something in the water!” Scott joked.
“I think it is the love for the game. Growing up as a Sunderland fan, derby days between Sunderland and Newcastle were always such an event in the North East and you instantly fell in love with the game.
“If you look at the players who have come through from the North East, we all have that fight inside us. A lot of us played a lot with the boys growing up but we also had great access to brilliant coaches in the North East and worked with some fantastic people, for example we were all given that opportunity through Sunderland Football Club as well.
“So I think it is a bit of a combination of our natural love of the game, natural hard work and personalities, and that help that we have received along the way as well.”
Scott was born in Sunderland and attended Fulwell Infants, Fulwell Juniors and Monkwearmouth Comprehensive School before going on to complete a BTEC National Diploma and a University of Sunderland foundation degree from Gateshead College.
As well as being a talented footballer, Scott also won the Mini London Marathon whilst running for Sunderland Harriers in her youth and continues to help coach kids in the summer at her former club Boldon Girls despite leaving the area aged 19 to join Everton.
The 34 year old said: “I am fortunate enough that I still get up to the North East and do summer camps up there and some of the talent is incredible. I look at them and think back to me being that age and they are technically so much better than I was at that age because of the access they have to training and stuff like that.
“It is great to think [the next Jill Scott] could be in attendance against Austria] and I know my message is clear every time I go up there: you have to put in the work, you have to work hard but also make sure you enjoy it.
“There is so much talent in the North East and it is a shame Sunderland are not competing in the top league at the moment in the FA WSL but hopefully they will be back there in the future so those girls have an aspiration to play for Sunderland in the top league.”
When asked if she expects Sunderland and the North East to continue to produce England internationals in the future, Scott replied: “Yeah definitely, I really think so.
“When I go up there, there is an incredible pool of talent but it is not just the talent there, it is how much the kids want it. You can see how hard they work and they follow the teams – they always ask when I do the camps if I can get Ellen White to come up or something like that.
“So it is great that they will have the opportunity to see the girls live in action and it is going to be a special day, especially for the girls from the North East. To have all their families and friends there will make it a really special day.”