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Jill Scott sets sights on England return and Tokyo 2020 after Everton loan

Jill Scott hopes her return to Everton will show “she has more to give” on the international stage, but insists it is the right move for her regardless of Olympic selection.

Last week Scott went on loan to Everton from Manchester City, returning 15 years after she first signed for the Merseyside club. She will remain there until the end of the season, after just two league starts under City’s Gareth Taylor so far this campaign.

Scott represented Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics and has 149 caps for England, including appearances at four World Cups, and the 33 year-old told reporters on Tuesday that she wanted to put herself in contention for the Tokyo Games this summer.

“Obviously the chance to represent your country I think are my fondest memories in football,” Scott said. “This move should probably keep us in the framework for that. It’s going to be so difficult to get into that squad but I still feel like I’ve got a lot to give and believe in myself. I hope this move will mirror that. If I wasn’t to get selected for the Olympics, or they weren’t to go ahead, then at least I know I tried. I’m just willing to get my head down and I suppose what will be, will be with the Olympics.”

Following Phil Neville’s premature England departure last week, both the national team and Team GB managerial roles remain vacant. 

For England’s February training camp, former Norway player Hege Riise is set to step in as interim, ahead of Sarina Wiegman permanently replacing Neville after the Olympics. But there is still no confirmation of who will take the reins for Team GB. Scott is not looking too far ahead though, and said she has another manager to impress first: Willie Kirk at Everton.

“I don’t want to be disrespectful and say, ‘I’m coming here to get game time’ because it’s going to be difficult,” Scott said. “There’s a lot of top players here, training has been difficult and I know that I’m going to have to be on top of my game in order to challenge for a place.”

If Scott features for Everton against Manchester United this Sunday, she will become only the second player to mark 150 Women’s Super League appearances – a week after England and City team-mate Steph Houghton became the first.

She said Everton were the “only” option she would have considered for a loan move though, because she spent seven years there ahead of joining City in 2013: “As soon as I heard that they were interested, I think it just made sense. Maybe it would have been easier for me to stay at City, in my comfort zone, going in every single day, but this shows that I’ve still got the determination to push myself – I really do. I turn 34 next week but I honestly have still got the same amount of drive and energy as when I was 21. Everybody keeps saying, ‘it’s your last few years’, and I suppose the truth is that it is, and I just want to make the most of it.

“Whatever happens – yes, that’s the end goal [Olympic selection] – but I’ve still got things I want to achieve now and those goals will be with Everton.”

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