Jill Scott - is there anyone more likeable?
On my long drive back from Newcastle to Manchester following the Christmas break I decided to catch up on some festive football podcasts! My wife (not a football fan by any stretch of the imagination) was not best pleased. She'd just sat through 90 minutes of live football in Newcastle, in freezing conditions watching that football club I support (who I'm still too depressed to name).
As I flicked through the options in the car I knew i'd win her over with a Jill interview. The most likeable woman in sport and a good laugh too. She didn't disappoint.
If you haven't checked it out already then I'd fully recommend giving it a listen (details at the bottom of this blog).
Some of my favourite bits (without ruining it too much!):
1. Jill Scott's attitude to young players coming through and gaining financial success.
As if you couldn't like Jill anymore, it feels like she's really accepted her role in the growth of women's football and knows she wont capitalise in the same way as her younger counterparts. She climbed on the international athlete train almost 15 years ago and carried women's football to 2019... and she's still going! The most capped England female footballer and yet she'll never see the financial success, but she just doesn't care.
She's honest too, she talks about how it was hard at first (seeing the young-guns coming through and benefiting from the fantastic facilities) and adapting to a world where she was just grateful to be given money to play (rather than having to pay like in her Sunderland days).
2. She's the ultimate team player... but only because she's got the attention span of a goldfish
Jill is far too humble to admit it, but she was a pretty mint long distance runner growing up. She downplays it in the episode but she also admits that she probably could've gone solo and become a professional long distance runner.
However... despite being a decent runner, she struggled to train alone and push herself without a team beside her. She laughs about her gym activities these days and how easily distracted she gets when she's given a solo task by the coaches at Man City.
It's pretty remarkable to think that a female footballer, who grew up in a world where there were successful (and famous) female runners chose a sport with no professional league where you had to pay to play. It emphasises how she was in it for the love of it and nothing else. Don't you just bloody LOVE Jill Scott?
3. The World Cup and Post-World Cup experiences
The huge take-away for me was her discussion around post-world cup games. Imagine spending 50+ days in camp with a coach driving you to win? Imagine the bitter disappointment of years of work to get to this point and just falling short?
Now imagine landing back in the UK to sit in a dressing room with your club coach discussing the league fixtures on top of huge England fixtures (Germany, Brazil etc). Jill plays down the recent international losses and I can kind of understand where she's coming from. Have you ever seen an international side put under such immense pressure straight after losing a major tournament?
Her analysis honestly made me reassess the recent dip in form from our England team. I feel a bit bad if i'm honest because I simply hadn't thrown their psychological state into play when I'd watched the Portugal performance (for instance) after the World Cup. I'd simply thought "you're the better team, now go out and smash them!" without taking into account they were mentally drained.
Go check out "The Offside Rule: Jill Scott Exclusive" - You can find it on Spotify (and other hosts) or here: https://audioboom.com/posts/7460235-jill-scott-exclusive