Man City Women midfielder Jill Scott believes England are undertaking the ideal preparation for the Euros.
Having already competed in the SheBelieves Cup this year, the Lionesses, who claimed a bronze medal in the 2015 World Cup, are readying themselves for this summer’s tournament in Holland with a pair of home friendlies this month – against Italy on Friday night and Austria on Monday.
One of eight Blues to have been named in Mark Sampson’s 23-player squad for the Euros, Scott is a stalwart in the England squad at major tournaments.
With her side deemed amongst the favourites for the crown, the 30-year-old spoke of the importance of these preparatory games.
“It’s great for us,” she declared. “We have two home games coming up.
“Going into the Euros, we want to test ourselves and continue to get together as a group.
“We do a lot of work off the pitch as well as on it so it’s fantastic to have the opportunities to get together and prepare.
“The SheBelieves Cup was great for us because we played three of the top nations to see where we’re at and we performed really well.
“That will give us the confidence heading into the Euros.”
Scott received her 100th cap in 2015 and is reaching the heights of legend status for both club and country.
Perhaps it will come as news to some just how hard she had to work to pursue a career in the beautiful game.
She had to overcome other obstacles throughout her journey – from juggling University studies, a job, training and weekend matches, to having to fund her dream herself.
Despite moving to Everton from hometown club Sunderland in 2006, she remained based in the north-east and would drive to Liverpool and back three times a week for training after finishing her shift as a coach in Gateshead – the definition of dedication.
Despite that, she went on to play for a boys’ team, revealing she chose football over her other passion of long-distance running.
She was often the only girl playing in tournaments of more than 120 and opposition parents – fearful of their sons being outplayed by a girl – would encourage violence. Scott would not be deterred though, and her determination has certainly paid off.
A result of her personal experiences, the England star is proud of her role model status and passionate about inspiring youngsters to succeed in sport.
An attendee a City in the Community event, held just days before City defeated Fortuna Hjorring in the Champions League quarter-finals, Scott expressed her pride.
“We went along to witness the work City in the Community do,” she explained. “It’s a great opportunity for the girls who are doing their BTEC to come to City Football Academy for their practical.
“It was great to get involved and have a few kicks.
“When I was younger, I passed a BTEC and it would have been a great opportunity for me to come in to these kind of facilities, meet some of the players and get involved with the first team.
“I really enjoy those kind of events.”
With the positive changes in the women’s game over recent years, it’s easy to forget the trials and tribulations female footballers face throughout their careers.
Barriers are slowly but surely breaking down. Football is now the most popular team sport for women, and women’s football is the third largest team sport in the UK.
Success stories such as Scott’s are becoming more common, and no-one is more delighted than her.
Manchester City Women will welcome Liverpool to the Academy Stadium on Monday 17 April. Head to the ticket office for more information.