England midfielder Jill Scott is itching to welcome Brazil’s Latin flair to the north east after returning to the squad following her post-World Cup recovery, writes Tom Dean.
The 32-year-old Manchester City star has regained her place in Phil Neville’s squad for the upcoming friendlies against Brazil and Portugal having been left out of the last camp.
In her absence the Lionesses came away with results of a different ilk to their usual standards.
First a two-goal lead slipped away in a 3-3 draw with Belgium before a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Norway – who England beat in the quarter-finals just two months prior.
Neville’s side will face the Brazilians at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday – just a stone’s throw away from where Scott grew up in Sunderland – with almost 30,000 fans expected to show their support.
The female canaries will arrive in the north east with Pia Sundhage at the helm having appointed the Swede, who has reached the last three Olympic gold medal matches, after the World Cup.
But Scott expects to welcome the same Brazil that fans know and love to see.
“Over the years Brazil has just been one of those teams that you can never write off,” she said.
“They have got some experienced players and some good young players but most importantly they have got players that can create something out of nothing.
“For someone like Marta – she just needs an instant and she can change the game.
“I am sure that whatever coach they have in charge they will try and keep a lot of the ball because that is the Brazilian philosophy.
“Being from the north east myself I can guess that it will probably be a rainy day so maybe that will suit us well but either way we are going to have to be on our game.
“There have been a lot of tickets sold so that is great for us and I know how influential the north-east supporters were during my early years as an England player.
“Their love for the game filtered down to me from a young age and it will be great to go up there and show them what we can do - plus it means more of my family can come too.”
The grass never felt so good. October preparation has well & truly begun 🤜 pic.twitter.com/UAikNcoIcO— Lionesses (@Lionesses) October 2, 2019
Scott is joined in the squad by World Cup stars Alex Greenwood and Fran Kirby, who also missed out on the previous camp.
Fellow midfielder Jordan Nobbs is also back in action, making her international return after almost a year away with a knee injury.
Competition for places in Neville’s midfield has been hotly-contested since the former Manchester United man took charge.
That looks set to intensify after Nobbs’ return and right-back Lucy Bronze proving she can hold her own further up the field.
And Scott is confident there is a healthy level of competition running right through the current squad.
“Our midfield has always been a very difficult place to break into because of the quality of the players that we have,” she added.
“Each player brings something uniquely different to the squad and I am delighted that we have got Jordan [Nobbs] back with us too now.
“A player like her is always going to be missed when she is not in the squad - she has got a bit of everything and can score from 30-yards too - so we will benefit greatly from that.
“But the competition up and down the squad in so fierce at the moment and all the players know how hard they are going to have to work if they want to keep playing for England.”
Tickets for England Women v Germany at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, November 9 (ko 5.30pm), priced only £1 under-16s and £15 adults, are on sale now at www.TheFA.com/Tickets