’No sad faces!’ England’s Euro 2022 winner Jill Scott retires from football
Jill Scott has announced her retirement from football after an incredible career, which made her the second most capped player – male or female – in English football history.
The 35-year-old midfielder ends on a high, having won Euro 2022 with England this summer, the culmination of a 16‑year international career. She made her England debut in 2006 and played 161 times for her country. Only Fara Williams has more caps with 172.
“I may be saying my goodbyes to football, but we’re going to make this a celebration,” Scott said in a farewell piece for the Players’ Tribune. “No sad faces. We’ve had too much fun for any tears.”
The news comes only a day after another Euro 2022 winner, Ellen White, said she would hang up her boots after England’s successful summer. Scott’s decision is less of a surprise as she is without a club after leaving Manchester City.
Scott said: “Maybe it’s because I’m from Sunderland, but two things have always been true about me: I’ve always been stubborn, and I’ve always loved football. It’s been in my blood ever since I was five years old. I saw a load of boys playing in the school yard and I walked straight up to them and said the four magic words … ‘Can I play too?’”
Scott is one of the most respected and influential players in England’s history. Apart from winning Euro 2022 this summer, she finished third at the 2015 World Cup and was a losing finalist at the European Championship in 2009. She played in 10 major tournaments, including two Olympic Games for Great Britain.
Scott also left her mark at club level, having come through at Sunderland before joining Everton in 2006. She spent seven years on Merseyside and a further eight at Manchester City, although she lost her starting place towards the end and was loaned out, first to Everton, then to Aston Villa. She won the Women’s Super League once, the WSL Cup three times and the FA Cup four times.
In 2019, after she was awarded an MBE for services to women’s football, she said: “I feel very honoured, but it also seems surreal. I’m just a young girl from Sunderland who fell in love with a game called football.”
A hugely popular player among teammates, Scott was described by the former England coach Phil Neville as “happy-go-lucky”. He credited her with bringing “some cheekiness to the squad” and Scott’s former teammate Carly Telford said last year: “She’ll never take the plaudits that she deserves. She’s so unselfish, she will do anything for the team.”
The England head coach, Sarina Wiegman, paid tribute to Scott, saying: “I must congratulate Jill on a very special career. I am so glad she was able to end on such a positive memory.
It will be hard to imagine an England squad without her as she has been an icon of the team for so long. I respect her decision, but we will miss her positive impact on and off of the pitch for sure.
“To be able to play at the highest level for so long tells you how good a player Jill has been, and her story is a positive example that others will continue to follow. She still has a huge amount to offer, so I hope she won’t be lost to the women’s game in the future – whatever that role may be. She is a very special person, and although it was only for a short period, I feel privileged to have had the chance to work with her.”
The Duke of Cambridge also congratulated Scott on her career, writing in a personal tweet: “A pioneer of women’s football and a great team player … congratulations on a wonderful career, it’s been a pleasure to get to know you. Tiny bit pleased there won’t be any more slide tackles during ‘friendly’ kickabouts …”
Scott’s Manchester City and England teammate Alex Greenwood tweeted that the midfielder was “a true legend”.
“Unbelievable teammate & a friend for life,” the defender wrote. “Thank you for everything you have given to the game … Happy Retirement Champ.”