Former England footballer Jill Scott has admitted she is not excited to chase Usain Bolt down the pitch when she makes her Soccer Aid debut later this year.
Scott, 36, who triumphed along with the other Lionesses at last year’s Women’s Euros and won I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, will become the first female player to captain the England team for the charity football match at Old Trafford in June.
After retiring from football last August having won 161 caps for England, she hopes to lead her team to claim their first win since 2018 over the World XI FC, who are being captained by Olympic sprinter Bolt.
Incredibly honoured to announce that I’m captaining England at @socceraid for UNICEF 2023! 🦁 ✨
I'll see you at Old Trafford on Sunday 11 June. 💙
— Jill Scott MBE (@JillScottJS8) March 7, 2023
On whether she feels the pressure to bring home a win after a successful year, Scott told the PA news agency: “I’m sure we’ll want a win. Obviously, we know that it’s a great match in terms of raising money and it is a fun evening.
“I know that everybody, especially the ex-players, you never step on a football pitch and think that you don’t want to win.
“It’s in England at Old Trafford. I’m sure the fans will be behind us as well.”
Her squad will include TV presenter Paddy McGuinness, who returns as England’s designated celebrity goalkeeper, and former professional footballers Karen Carney, Jermain Defoe, Gary Cahill, David James and Jack Wilshere.
Emma Hayes and Vicky McClure will co-manage the team as DJ Joel Corry, rapper Bugzy Malone, singer Tom Grennan, Olympian Sir Mo Farah, comedian Alex Brooker, former footballer and pundit Gary Neville, coach Paul Scholes, commentator Eni Aluko and YouTuber Chunkz also all join the England line-up.
Scott revealed she was a “massive fan” of athletics so she is eager to play alongside Sir Mo as well as her former teammate and friend Carney.
“It’ll be nice to get back in an England shirt with her because it’s probably (been) about six or seven years since we played together,” she said.
“We might be a little bit slower now, well I definitely will be.”
They will face competition from Bolt, former striker Robbie Keane as coach, comedian Lee Mack, Dragons’ Den star Steven Bartlett and Love Island winner and presenter Kem Cetinay.
Assessing the rival squad, Scott said: “I’m not excited about chasing Usain Bolt if I’m being completely honest.
“And I know Lee Mack takes this very seriously. I’ve seen a few programmes where he’s actually been practising his penalties and stuff like that so they’re going to be competitive.”
However, the former Manchester City and Everton midfielder revealed she was looking forward to getting back on the pitch at Old Trafford after a year of doing “random things” including spending three weeks in the Australian jungle.
“Old Trafford was our first game for the Euros actually so I’ve got some great memories of it”, she added.
“I remember, I didn’t start the game so I got to take in the occasion a little bit more and the fans kicked off our campaign and really helped us win it in the summer so I have some incredible memories.
“It’ll be great to get to Old Trafford and hopefully this time I’ll get to step on the pitch a little bit more, which will be fun.”
England squad looking 👌
Who else should we sign? 👀
— Soccer Aid (@socceraid) March 11, 2023
Last year, £15 million was raised during the match at London Stadium – where Soccer Aid World XI won 4-1 on penalties.
Soccer Aid raises money for Unicef to help give children all over the world an early start full of play.
Reflecting on why she wanted to be a part of the match this year, Scott said: “I was just looking at the figures raised last year for Unicef, like £15 million, that’s absolutely incredible.
“And I think the fact that going out there and playing football, something that we all love, can help change so many children’s lives and give them the opportunity just to be children really, it’s not like you’re asking for much.
“I love working with children, I think just seeing the smiles on their faces and I think every child should be entitled to that so it does mean a lot for me.”
The charity match is back at Manchester United’s Old Trafford on June 11 and will be broadcast on ITV1, STV and ITVX with Dermot O’Leary on hosting duties.
A family of four can attend the game for just £60 – buy your tickets at socceraid.org.uk/tickets.