Lioness Jill Scott nearly chose athletics over football

·2-min read
Photo credit: Shaun Botterill
Photo credit: Shaun Botterill

England fans are on a high following the England women’s team’s historic victory on Sunday, beating Germany 2-1 in extra-time to win the European Championships for the first time.

One player for whom the victory was particularly momentous and cathartic was Jill Scott. The 35-year-old veteran midfielder was a member of the England team that lost 6-2 to Germany the last time the team reached a final in 2009, and has remained a key squad member ever since.

Fans who noted the Sunderland-born Lioness’s quick turn of pace during the recent European Championships will not be surprised to discover that she was a talented runner in her youth. This was exhibited in the 2019 World Cup in France, where the former Manchester City Women's Team player, who has 161 England caps and 27 goals to her name, ran more miles than any other player during the tournament.

She was heavily into running as a child and, as a member of Sunderland Harriers, competed in the 1500m in the English Schools Athletics Championships across the country, won the North of England Under-13 cross country title and the Junior Great North Run in between football matches.

In addition, she was victorious in the Mini London Marathon in 2000 when she was 14 years old – a race Mo Farah also won in his youth – but decided to follow her dream of becoming a footballer.

‘Winning something on your own as opposed to winning something and sharing it with the team is totally different,’ she told the BBC when asked why she chose football over athletics.

‘Football has always been my first love and I think a few people were disappointed that I chose football, but looking back now I don't regret it.’

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