I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! star Jill Scott may be a football success story now, but her rise to the top wasn’t smooth.
Opening up to her I’m A Celebrity campmates, Charlene White and Scarlette Douglas, the sporting star reflected on her win at the Euros 2022.
And it seems football is just in Jill’s DNA, as she started playing when she was five-years-old and even her grandma predicted a career in the game.
‘[I was] playing in the schoolyard with the boys. I literally didn’t realise until a couple of weeks in that I was literally the only girl doing it,’ she began. ‘But I had loads of energy as a kid. Even my grandma said on my Christening day, my legs were like this [mimed kicking] the whole time. My grandma reckons she said, “She’s going to be a footballer”, and I was about four-months-old or something.’
Jill said kids were accepting of her playing, but added: ‘It was the parents, some of the parents from opposing teams. If I beat their precious son, they’d shout stuff at us. Like, “Kick her, hack her down…”, I’d come off the pitch literally in tears.’
Scarlette in the Bush Telegraph had nothing but praise for the Geordie lass: ‘For some people that could have broken them, but for her, it made her,’ she praised.
‘So, things can either make or break you and she took a positive spin on it and she kept going and look how she is.’
Charlene told Jill that her own young daughter is now playing football, and said it’s lovely’ to see so many young boys and girls all playing.
‘The Lionesses are a massive inspiration,’ the newsreader hailed.
Reacting in the Bush Telegraph, Jill shared: ‘Along the way, I had to put up with a few mean comments from the parents and stuff like that. Now, knowing that her [Charlene’s] young daughter won’t have to face that stuff, she’s on the start of that journey and it can be an amazing one for her.’
Jill continued to discuss the difference between men and women’s football, and how the fans attitudes differ when it comes to match.
‘The way the fans got behind us… I felt like everybody was supporting us in a positive way. Whereas sometimes for the guys, I do think when a tournament comes around they’re like, “Oh, how are they going to do?”, and put a bit of a negative spin on it,’ she said.
‘But I did feel like everybody was supporting us and we’re going to do something special. The guys were so supportive as well. They came and shared their stories about their Euros experience.’
Charlene noted that, since they crashed out, the men’s team didn’t have a ‘full experience’ because ‘they’ve never actually won’.
‘So, next time the boys have the Euros, presumably the girls will go into their changing room and explain to them how they managed to win it and how they ought to do the same. You now need to be advising them,’ she laughed.
Jill admitted: ‘That win’s going to be iconic for a long time but the biggest thing for me – the medal, I look at it and I have the biggest, cheesiest grin ever – but knowing girls can say, “You know what, I want to be a footballer”, and it’s normal, it’s fine.’
I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! continues tomorrow at 9pm on ITV.