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JILL SCOTT is heading into her 10th major international tournament anticipating that Euro 2022 is set to be “the best yet.”
This summer’s showpiece, of which England are hosts, is a fourth European Championship for the 35-year-old Lionesses midfielder, who has also gone to four World Cups and been in the Great Britain squads for the London 2012 and Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The campaigns have included a runners-up finish at the 2009 Euros in Finland, and reaching three successive semi-finals, at World Cups in Canada and France, and Euro 2017 in the Netherlands in between.
Scott is now part of the squad that get this year’s bid for glory under way with a clash against Austria next Wednesday, as the Women’s Euros returns to England 17 years on from the event previously taking place there.
And when asked for her feelings about the tournament, with nine already under her belt, Scott told the PA news agency: “This one feels really special. With it being a home one, definitely.
“I went in 2005 as a fan, and then made my debut in 2006. To think that there will be young girls maybe at this one who could potentially make their debuts in the next few years.
“It’s very exciting, and I think this one’s going to be probably the best yet.”
In Sarina Wiegman, England — twice Euros finalists, having also been runners-up in 1984, but yet to get their hands on major silverware — have brought in the manager who oversaw the Netherlands triumphing on home soil in the 2017 edition.
Since the Dutchwoman, who also guided her country to the 2019 World Cup final, took charge in September England have been unbeaten and won all but two of their 14 games, which included a 5-1 victory over the Netherlands last week.
Scott made Wiegman’s final 23-player squad after missing the last few weeks of the 2021-22 Women’s Super League season due to a knee issue sustained while on loan at Aston Villa from Manchester City.
Describing the absence as “probably more precaution really,” Scott has stressed the standard of the squad means that, regardless of her fitness situation, she was relieved to get in, and says England go into the tournament “the best prepared we’ve ever been.
“It was massively [a feeling of] relief [making the 23], and I think it would have been relief anyway, regardless of missing a couple of games,” Scott said.
“I think this squad is incredibly hard to get into, that with each year it gets tougher and tougher, with the younger players coming through. So it was massive relief, but I feel very honoured and proud to be going to another tournament.
“It’s difficult when people ask about [England] teams in the past and teams now, because the game has changed massively, so to do direct comparisons is quite difficult, but I think the talent in this squad is amazing.
“There is a real energy about this team, which is something that England teams throughout the years, that’s always been our DNA. So I’m very excited.
“I think on our day we can beat anybody, but you just have to be the best prepared you can be. Because when you talk about semi-finals and being so close, it’s those moments sometimes that are the difference — it could be a penalty, a VAR decision. I think we’ll be the best prepared we’ve ever been.”
Scott — who is second on England’s all-time appearance list with 157 caps, behind only Fara Williams (172), and scored her 27th Lionesses goal in Thursday’s 4-0 friendly win over Switzerland — is leaving City this summer at the end of her contract after eight years with the club.
When asked about the future, she said: “My whole focus was just making this tournament and I’m just going to enjoy it as much as I can. At the end of it I’ll just see where I’m at and then go on to make a plan for the next year.”
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