After a triumphant victory at the EUROs last summer and an illustrious career for club and country, Jill Scott hung up her boots. Before 2022 came to an end, she was crowned Queen of the Jungle on ITV's 'I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here' and further cemented her place as one of the stand out icons of the past few years, bagging a passionate legion of fans as she done so.
Now, the Sunderland born midfielder is eyeing up her latest challenge: becoming the first female captain at Soccer Aid for UNICEF, when she leads out the England team at Old Trafford on Sunday 11th June 2023.
We caught up with the former Manchester City and England maestro to get the low down on this year's event!
Congratulations that you are debuting at Soccer Aid and captaining the England team!
Thank you, I’m really excited! I’ve been to a few of the games in the past, it’s just such a great game and such a great occasion - it’s such an honour to be part of Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2023.
Soccer Aid for UNICEF has moved back to Manchester, how does it feel to be going back to such a huge stadium?
Old Trafford was our first game for the Euros, so I have some great memories of it. It will be great to be there!
Who from the England squad are you most excited to be teaming up with?
Sir Mo Farah, I’m a massive fan of athletics and he’s an incredible athlete. Karen Carney is a really good friend of mine; it will be nice to get back in an England shirt with her! It will be a great experience.
How do you feel about your camp-mate Scarlette Douglas playing?
It will be good fun! We spoke about football a lot in the jungle. It will be nice to see Scarlette again.
Will your preparation be different to when you were training every day, or can you 'relax' a bit more now?
I’m going to be doing my own training; I am still fit in terms of running. I want to put in a half decent performance, so I’ll definitely try and top up my football skills.
Do you think the desire to win at all costs will immediately come back when you cross the white line?
You never step onto a football pitch and don’t want to win. I’m sure the fans will be behind us and I’ll definitely want to win!
The World XI is looking strong again - how are you feeling about going up against them?
I’m not excited about chasing Usain Bolt and I know Lee Mack takes this very seriously! It’s going to be competitive and an interesting game.
Penalty shootouts are always a nerve wracking experience - what advice will you give the team if it comes to that?
I’m actually not very good at penalties! Sometimes being not very good at penalties actually works for you, as you don’t know where it’s going to go, so how will the keeper know?! That’s always my motto! If it goes to penalties then both teams have done well - just smash the ball and try and score.
Soccer Aid raises vital funds for UNICEF - how does it feel to be supporting the cause?
£15 million raised last year is absolutely incredible! Playing football can help change so many children’s lives. I get to work with children a lot and I love working with children, this does mean lot for me. It’s a great occasion. I love playing football and love seeing children smiling; I think this event really brings these two together!
If anyone is still in two minds whether to buy tickets, what advice would you give them?
This is going to be a fun game and a great event for families watching a game of football! When do you ever get the chance to see people like Usain Bolt and Mo Farah play football? It’s a one-off occasion and I urge families to get down. An event like this can bring everyone together and it’s for a great cause as well. Just really looking forward to it!
Soccer Aid For UNICEF 2023 tickets are on sale now, and prices start at just £10 for children and £20 for adults.
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