‘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 saw her become 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. He made his England debut in 2006 and played 161 times for his country. Only Fara Williams has more trophies with 172.

“I may be saying goodbye to football, but we’re going to make it a celebration,” Scott said in a farewell piece for the Players’ Tribune. “No sad faces. We’ve had too much fun for tears.”

The news comes just a day after fellow Euro 2022 winner Ellen White said she would hang up her boots after England’s successful summer. Scott’s decision is less surprising as he 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 since I was five years old. I saw loads of of boys playing in the schoolyard and I went straight to them and said the four magic words… ‘Can I play too?’”

Scott is one of the most respected and influential players in England history. As well as winning Euro 2022 this summer, she finished third at the 2015 World Cup and was a losing runner-up at Europeans 2009. She played in 10 major tournaments, including two Olympics for Great Britain.

Jill Scott (right) celebrates scoring against Argentina at the 2007 World Cup with Fara Williams, the only person to have won more England caps.
Jill Scott (right) celebrates scoring against Argentina at the 2007 World Cup with Fara Williams, the only person to have won more England caps. Photograph: Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Scott also made his mark at club level, having moved to Sunderland before joining Everton in 2006. He spent seven years on Merseyside and a further eight at Manchester City, although he 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 receiving an MBE for services to women’s football, she said: “I feel very honoured, but it also feels surreal. I’m just a girl from Sunderland who fell in love with a game called football.”

A hugely popular player with his team-mates, Scott was described by former England manager Phil Neville as “happy go-lucky”. He credited her with bringing “a bit of sass to the team” and Scott’s former partner Carly Telford said last year: “She’ll never take the credit she deserves. She’s so selfless she’ll do anything for the team.”

England manager Sarina Wiegman paid tribute to Scott, saying: “I have to congratulate Jill on a very special career. I’m really pleased that she was able to finish on such a positive note.

It will be hard to imagine an England team without her as she has been an icon of the team for so long. I respect his decision, but we will certainly miss his positive impact on and off the pitch.

“To be able to play at the highest level for so long tells you what a good player Jill has been, and her story is a positive example that others will continue to follow. She still has a lot to offer, so I hope she doesn’t lose herself in the women’s game in the future, whatever that role is. She is a very special person and, although it was for a short period, I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to work with her”.

Pioneer of women’s football and great team player. @JillScottJS8 congratulations on a wonderful career, it was a pleasure meeting you.

Kind of glad there won’t be more slide tackles during ‘friendly’ kicks… W https://t.co/GTWOOnSSXg

— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) August 23, 2022

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Pioneer of women’s football and great team player. @JillScottJS8 congratulations on a wonderful career, it was a pleasure meeting you.

Kind of glad there won’t be more slide tackles during ‘friendly’ kicks… W https://t.co/GTWOOnSSXg

— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) August 23, 2022

The Duke of Cambridge also congratulated Scott on his career, writing in a personal tweet: “A pioneer of women’s football and a great team player… congratulations on a wonderful career, it was a pleasure meeting you. Kind of glad there won’t be any more slide tackles during ‘friendly’ kicks…”

Scott’s Manchester City and England teammate Alex Greenwood tweeted that the midfielder was “a true legend”.

“Awesome teammate and lifelong friend,” the defender wrote. “Thank you for everything you’ve given to the game… Happy retirement champ.”


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