Monday 10 June 2019, 11:00

England's history-maker sees reason to believe

  • Jill Scott reflects on England’s 2-1 win over Scotland

  • The history-maker underlines why result supersedes performance

  • Scott is confident England will grow as France 2019 progresses

By Laure James with England

Jill Scott and Karen Carney became, against Scotland in Nice, the first players to represent England in four FIFA Women’s World Cups™. Ever measured and level-headed, Scott is a leading example for her younger team-mates, yet the Manchester City midfielder believes the whole squad can learn from this summer's experience.

There will be take-aways from their opening 2-1 win over Scotland, in terms of where the Lionesses can improve going forward. More effective use of possession and tightening up the gaps beside the full-backs may be areas to work upon, although Scott admits the occasion can sometimes stifle a good performance.

“I thought we passed the ball really well in the first half, probably letting them in a bit too much in the second half, but it would have been difficult to give a perfect performance in the opening game,” she said.

Coach Phil Neville will now be analysing every move to identify how to improve against Argentina on Friday. At his most critical, he may admit there were hints of complacency, and rue allowing Claire Emslie to make herself an increasing threat. Emslie was rewarded with netting Scotland’s first-ever goal in a Women’s World Cup, although Scott says a win to kick the group off was England’s main objective.

“I think in terms of the warm-up games – not using this as an excuse – we were just desperate to get out here, we really were,” said the 32-year-old. “We even said after the Denmark game that there was a lot of negativity about our performance, but we beat them 2-0 and I thought they were a very good team.

“Now we are here, we can settle. The most important thing was that we got the first win here.”

Any early nerves were put to bed thanks to Nikita Parris’s cool penalty on 14 minutes, which, along with her mouth-watering collaborative play with Lucy Bronze, helped to earn her the VISA Player of the Match award.

England sat comfortably on top thereafter, doubling their lead through Ellen White’s sublime, curled finish, as arguably Neville’s strongest starting XI showed their quality in all areas of the field.

“The performance is what we need to build on now, but I wouldn’t necessarily say we’re disappointed,” said Scott. “I told myself when I woke up that as long as we got the three points, I would be happy, and I know how important it is in a tournament. And we’ve done that now, and I think we should be proud of ourselves in that sense.

“A lot of our players haven’t been at a World Cup, haven’t experienced that kind of situation, and I think they handled it really well. We will all develop and grow in this World Cup.”