Alex Scott has become a mainstay of the England senior football team and currently features on the long list of prospective London 2012 Team GB squad members compiled by manager Hope Powell.
Having been involved with England’s World Cup campaign last year as well as a huge number of other major tournaments during her successful career, the 27-year-old believes GB’s participation in the Olympics is the natural next step for the women’s game in the UK and essential for the growth of female football.
It seems the girls will very much be going into the tournament with a winning mentality and we caught up with Alex to hear all about it.
How does it feel to have reached this milestone and finally be in the Olympic year?
Yeah you know, there’s been a lot of build up with the building of the stadiums and the talk and the excitement so to finally be in 2012 and it be so close it’s just a great buzz and a great feeling.
The last couple of years have been huge for women’s football, particularly in the UK. Is GB’s involvement in the Olympics the natural next step?
Yes definitely. It’s only going to improve the profile of the sport and that’s what we need in women’s football. I think for people to come out and get the chance to see the game live on such an international level and the talent that’s going to be on show is just going to be exciting.
Having been involved yourself in huge competitions such as last year’s World Cup, any idea how the Games will compare?
It’s going to be on par, you know. You’ve got teams like USA who regard the Olympics up there alongside a World Cup. This is what they strive for and they’re coming here to win gold medals. The competitiveness between the nations is going to be fierce and it’s going to be a great showcase for women’s football.
There has been some controversy with regards the formation of the men’s GB team, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland voicing their collective opposition to Team GB participation at the Games – has this applied to the girls too?
No, I don’t think that has been the case. Hope [Powell, GB women’s team manager for the Games] made a long list of players that she wanted to select and I think everyone has accepted the invitation.
How would it feel representing GB rather than England?
I would relish it. It’s going to be a one-off being a part of this Olympics and it’s going to be an exciting time. But I do know that going in to this tournament that was a major talking point – will we now have to be team GB or will we stay as our individual nations. I think it’s been good over the years having that history and rivalry between us and the other home nations and those games you relish playing in as well so I think to continue that would be a good thing for women’s football instead of coming together as a team GB in the future.
What are GB’s chances like? Can you talk us through who’s likely to be your biggest competition?
It’s going to be Japan. They won the World Cup last year and they didn’t just win it through luck. Their style of play, how they move the ball around – they’ve been described as like the Barcelona of women’s football so I think they’re definitely going to be the ones to watch. Everyone wants to beat them.
Any wild cards?
Yeah you know, you have Cameroon who qualified and teams like South Africa have qualified for the first time for an Olympics so they’ll definitely be coming in with a point to prove.
Why should people come and watch GB compete in the Games? What can they expect?
They can expect a whole lot of talent on show along with commitment and passion. In previous tournaments we’ve done well as an England team so to now add to that squad is only going to make it better with the best of the other national sides. We’re all aiming for a medal around our necks, we want to win.
Jessica Whittington, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine
Tickets for the London 2012 Olympic Football Tournament are currently on sale until the 6th February with any remaining tickets being made available in April. For your chance to buy tickets and to watch Team GB log on to www.tickets.london2012.com.