Manchester City midfielder opens up on Everton move and Olympic ambitions
Tokyo-bound Jill Scott believes she would have missed out on a place in Team GB’s Olympic squad if she hadn’t secured a loan move to Everton back in January.
The Manchester City star - who represented Great Britain the only other time they competed on the Olympic stage in 2012 - is set for her second Games appearance after being named in Hege Riise’s 18-player squad.
With a wealth of talent surrounding City’s midfield ranks Scott found playing time limited under boss Gareth Taylor, prompting her to seek a move to Merseyside where she had previously enjoyed a seven-year permanent spell.
Having helped the Toffees to a fifth-place finish in the Women’s Super League and recaptured her finest form the 151-time capped Lioness did enough to earn selection for a tournament she admits means more than any before.
“If I’m honest I think if my situation had stayed the same at City I wouldn’t have been sat here today as part of the Team GB setup,” said Scott, whose Team GB exploits in Tokyo will be broadcast live on Eurosport and discovery+.
“I completely appreciated the situation but I was finding that when I was playing it took up a lot more energy to get to the required level, just because I wasn’t out there consistently.
“I knew something had to change because I had so much more to give. I’m really pleased with how the second half of the season went and I’ve probably proved to myself that I’m still at this level and enjoying football as much.
“This call up definitely means the most. This was the toughest selection-wise, especially with the calibre of players who were in the mix.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve taken previous tournaments for granted but you tend to just go along with the whole experience. This time I’ve been watching videos and getting goosebumps at the thought of being back out on the Olympic stage again.”
An integral member of Hope Powell’s team that fell to Canada at the quarter-final stage nine years ago, Scott believes her experience of that tournament stands the team in good stead in Japan this time out.
A reunion with Canada in Group E alongside clashes with Chile and hosts Japan promise a string of tough tests, but the 34-year believes the quality among GB’s squad - which features 15 England players alongside Wales skipper Sophie Ingle and Scotland pair Caroline Weir and Kim Little - can catapult them to gold.
“I think we all took a lot out of London 2012, particularly about playing to the occasion too much and getting ahead of ourselves,” she added.
“We’ve got some very tough games, and we’ve really got to hit the ground running. But in terms of what we expect we want to go there and win the whole thing.
“We have some incredible players and I certainly wouldn’t have liked the job of picking the squad. They’re all players that when you’re lining up in the WSL you know you’re in for a tough afternoon against, and I can’t wait to get out there and perform as a group.”