How do you sum up Jill Scott?
On 31 July 2022, the 35-year-old emerged from the bench at Wembley in the 88th minute of the Euro 2022 final, turned in a towering extra time performance to disrupt Germany’s midfield rhythm with a series of big headers, constant running and tactical fouls, went viral for swearing stupendously at Sydney Lohmann (said phrase is now available on a wide range of T-shirts), became a European champion, dedicated the victory to all those who had come before her, turned up to celebrate at Trafalgar Square the following day having pulled an all-nighter and was caught on camera pretending to interview the bucket hat-wearing European Championship trophy.
All in a day’s work.
The Euro 2022 final would be Scott’s final outing as a professional footballer after announcing her retirement on Tuesday, bringing an end to her illustrious 18-year playing career.
The midfielder witnessed the game grow from amateur to professional. Having played in baggy men’s shirts in front of smatterings of supporters at the very beginning, Scott brought the curtain down on her career by lifting the European Championship trophy in front of 87,000 people at Wembley.
Moments after lifting the trophy, Scott headed over to Fara Williams – England’s most capped player -pitch side, and hung her winner’s medal around her neck.
“I jumped on Jill at the final whistle and nearly did my ACL as Lucy Bronze took the both of us out!” Williams told 90min of said moment. “When she came over it wasn’t just about me, she mentioned all the players that put in the work before that.
“Knowing the person that Jill is – she was my roommate for a long time – she would have enjoyed putting (her medal) around every ex-Lioness.”
Writing in The Player’s Tribune, Scott explained how the first person she texted at full time was her former Everton manager Mo Marley, and speaking to the press both before and after the final, she made a point of paying tribute to those who had helped to pave the way.
“It’s for every player that’s ever worn an England shirt,” Scott said at full time. “This is for them. It was so nice I got to see Fara Williams, and I put this (the winner’s medal) around her neck and I said: ‘this is yours as much as it is mine’. I didn’t want her to take it…
“It was a nice moment because all those players that have contributed to this team, that have given you advice over the years – Casey Stoney, Faye White, so many of them to mention – I really hope they feel part of this special night.”
The 35-year-old has been synonymous with English football for so long, her gangly legs making a stretching challenge an enduring image from any major tournament over the past 15 years. Eight major tournaments, two Olympic games, one infectious sense of humour.
“That’s always our aim, to inspire the next generation,” she added. “Hopefully now we’ve got the gold medal I don’t have to pretend my bronze is gold now when I go into schools and do talks. I can actually show them a gold medal.”