Alex Scott eyes glory with Arsenal Ladies and England as WSL fixtures are released
PUBLISHED: 17:31 26 January 2015 | UPDATED: 17:31 26 January 2015
2014 The FA
EXCLUSIVE: Arsenal Ladies full-back Alex Scott is looking forward to the start of the new FA Women’s Super League season after the 2015 fixture list was announced today.
The Gunners face an opening-day trip to Notts County on April 2, followed by the visit of Bristol Academy to Meadow Park on 15 April – four days before travelling to play Manchester City.
Manager Pedro Martinez Losa will begin his first full season at the club after replacing Shelley Kerr in August, and Scott believes the FA Women’s Cup holders can fight for more silverware.
“We want to regain our title,” said Scott. “Pedro has done really well recruiting players. We’ve brought back Lianne Sanderson, which is a big signing, and we’ve strengthened in defence because Niamh [Fahey] left the club.
“We’ve brought in Jemma Rose from Bristol and then signing two Spanish internationals – Natalia Pablos and Vicky Losada – just shows we’re always looking to strengthen and striving to move forward.
“We’re desperate to win more silverware this season, and to get back into the Champions League.”
The former Boston Breakers defender was part of the Arsenal side that narrowly missed out on Continental Cup success and fell five points short of WSL champions Liverpool Ladies – but the 30-year-old is hopeful of a fast start when the league campaign gets underway in April.
“I always look out for the first few fixtures as it’s important to get points quickly on the board,” Scott added. “Facing Notts County and then Bristol in Borehamwood, we’ll be looking to get off to a good start.
“I remember we played County first last year, because I scored! We drew 1-1 and I remember scoring in the last minute. It will be a good test because they’ve brought in a lot of new faces.
“We’ve taken two Bristol players [Rose and Pablos], so I imagine that first home game will be quite a fiery one. They’ll be looking forward to that, and it’s a good first home game to have.
“It’ll then be exciting going up to face City and hopefully we can cause an upset. Everyone knows they’ve been spending a lot of money, so they’ve got a really strong team.”
Scott has already been impressed by the intensity of Losa’s daily training sessions ahead of the new season, with the manager tailoring his pre-season programme in order to limit the amount of travelling required in a World Cup year.
With 117 England caps to her name, Scott believes the women’s game is unrecognisable to when she first took up the sport, and has called on the WSL and the Football Association to keep pushing the frontiers of possibility.
“To think where the game is now compared to when I first signed for Arsenal aged eight, it’s taken huge strides,” she said. “It’s what we all hoped for, but to see it progressing the way it has over the past couple of years is fantastic.
“It’s up to us in the WSL and the national team to keep fighting and pushing the game on more. From a personal perspective, success with Arsenal this season will hopefully mean more appearances for my country and guarantee me a place on that plane in the summer.”
The seventh Women’s World Cup will take place in Canada in June, and much of its preamble has been somewhat overshadowed by the use of synthetic pitches being given the green light, despite some players threatening to file a lawsuit against Fifa.
The claim of gender discrimination was withdrawn earlier this month and, with all games to be shown live on BBC television – making it the most comprehensive coverage ever of a women’s international football tournament – Scott is focusing on the positives, and on breaking a curse.
“We don’t want to be seen as a quarter-final team,” continued Scott, who, along with England, has never gone further than the last eight. “It’s [England manager] Mark Sampson’s aim to go beyond this stage of the competition.
“We’ve all got the belief now that we can go to a World Cup and go one better at least. In the knock-out stages, anything can happen.
“The training camps have really pushed us; we’ve already played Germany and have USA next month - these are the challenges we need to push this team forward.
“France will be a tough test in the group stages, as we’ve never beaten them before, but it’s a group we believe we can get out of. Obviously, the fact it will be played on artificial pitches is something that’s not in our hands.
“We’re lucky we’ve got the 3G pitch at St George’s Park that we’ve been practising on, so we’re going to try to prepare the best we can. We would like to be playing on grass, but that’s not something we can control.”