Jill Scott is relishing the opportunity to take part in Soccer Aid - but admits she has concerns over going head-to-head with Olympic legend Usain Bolt.

Soccer Aid for UNICEF returns at Old Trafford on Sunday, June 11. Team England will look to take back the silverware from the World XI side after losing out 4-1 on penalties last year after being tied 2-2 at full-time. Lee Mack clinched the victory for the World XI by scoring the winning penalty to retain their title.

Indeed, England will look to pull back the win in the biggest and best football match taking centre stage, once again, at the Theatre of Dreams. Former Manchester City and England Lioness star Scott is invited to put on an England shirt once more, with an armband to match.

She takes Liam Payne’s armband in her debut for the charity game and told Mirror Football it will be an honour: “To step out onto the pitch as captain. It's definitely going to be a ‘pinch me’ moment.

“It's massive. It will definitely be one of the biggest games that I've played in, for that reason [UNICEF]. I think when you say about the money that's going to be raised for UNICEF. That's why we’re there, to give every child the opportunity to play. When we step out onto the pitch that will be in the forefront of our minds.

“It's got that good feeling about it. It always has done when I've been in the crowd. It's exciting.”

Scott’s transparency and humility towards her football journey, the emotions and obstacles she’s had to overcome didn’t stop with lifting the European trophy, even Soccer Aid has given the midfielder some imposter syndrome and pre-game jitters: “Oh definitely” she admitted, “especially when you’ve got Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Karen Carney and then there's me with the captain's armband on but I don't think ill be someone that shouts at people. I think ill probably be a lead-by-example with my performance hopefully just putting in a few hard tackles and then expecting everyone else to follow suit.”

It is the first time Scott will make an appearance in the charity game versus the Soccer Aid World XI FC headed up by Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt: “Yeah, you've got Usain Bolt. That's going to be a difficult one. I don't really want to try and catch him, he's got a lot of speed. And I wouldn't like to slide tackle him either in case he fell on us,” added Scott playfully.

Although Scott eluded looking forward to playing with Paul Scholes: “A player that I think has been one of the best midfielders ever to play in the Premier League.

“Obviously as a young girl growing up, women's football wasn't even kind of on the map. So to think you've got an opportunity to step out onto the pitch with your idol who you used to watch as a kid and obviously the same with Gary Neville as well, that was my era of watching the England team growing up.”

Nostalgia took the front seat of the interview and a moment was dedicated to reliving the past: “To reunite with Karen Carney and Eni Aluko - I thought our time on the pitch had come to an end so yeah, it should be good.

“I played in a five-a-side game with Eni recently and the thing that she's got over me is pace so she's still quick and she can still affect the game. So hopefully I can just smash someone and then give the ball to her,” Scott added shrugging and smiling.

We got into a tete-a-tete about training ahead of the game, how’s the first touch, Jill?

“It wasn't bad” she replied, “and I think my passes and that were good as well. But I was never a technical player, doing loads of tricks and flicks so I've just tried to keep it simple.

“I've relied on my engine a lot over the years, so I just need to kind of top it up before this big game.”

What about any pre-game rituals, did any superstition erk its way into your career that you will take with you to the Theatre of Dreams? She said: “I think I used to put my right shin pad and right boot on first but that was probably just because I couldn't find my left.”

With four coaches and a thirst to lead by example, Scott will need to keep hold of her left shin pad, with Rapper Stormzy, actress Vicky McClure, former manager Harry Redknapp and Chelsea boss Emma Hayes set to assemble in an attempt to steer the English side to victory, something Scott’s excited about: “It's a bit mad with Emma, obviously for years we were rivals. I was at Manchester City and she was at Chelsea. And those games were like life or death at times.

“So now that she's going to be my manager I hope I get to keep the captaincy but yeah, I think she's an incredible person and someone that I've always wanted to chat football with. It'll be nice to be on the same team as her for once.”

Soccer Aid for UNICEF will take place on Sunday 11th June 2023 at Old Trafford. Tickets are on sale via www.socceraid.org.uk/tickets with a family of four able to attend for just £60 — two adults and two children.

2023-05-30T10:54:12Z dg43tfdfdgfd