Arsenal and England’s Alex Scott talks to Football FanCast

A proud member of the women’s Team GB squad that performed admirably at the hugely successful London 2012 Olympic Games last summer, Arsenal and England international full back Alex Scott caught up with Football FanCast.

Scott played in all four of Team GB’s matches at last years’ games, including that memorable, national feel good factor group stage win over tournament favourites Brazil at Wembley on the final day of July.

The attack-minded Arsenal right back has nearly accumulated an incredible 100 caps for England and at 28-years-old has enjoyed a successful and varied career having played for Birmingham City and the Boston Breakers in North America in between spells with Arsenal whom she rejoined in 2012 after her stint in the States.

Following the collapse of the WPS (Women’s Professional Soccer) league in America, Scott embarked on her third spell with the Gunners in 2012 alongside team-mate Kelly Smith and explained how she is looking forward to winning more trophies while offering her thoughts about the women’s game as a whole post-Olympics, who she is wary of in the forthcoming Champions League as well as letting us know how she thinks the Arsenal men’s team will fare for the remainder of a difficult campaign.

Football FanCast’s Taylor Williams caught up with Alex Scott ahead of what is hoped to be a fruitful 2013 for the full back.

Have you seen an increase in coverage and following of women’s football since the exposure the game got at the London 2012 Olympics?

There’s great appetite for women’s football now and I think that’s been shown by the BBC picking up all of the rights for the up and coming European Championship games this summer. This just shows that there’s a real interest so that’s great for us.

Do you think that the London 2012 Olympics were the kick-start that was required to boost the women’s game?

I think there was interest before but I just think the large scale of the Olympics and everyone getting behind Team GB, the excitement of the games and the atmosphere – I think that’s what really kick started it and it’s great because we’ve been trying to plug it for many years.

You spent three years over in America with the Boston Breakers. What was that experience like and how does women’s football in the US compare ton over here?

For me, I’d been at Arsenal since I was eight years old and it was just a lifestyle change. I hadn’t had the chance to play professional before. The Americans are ranked number one in the world so being given a chance to train with them and really learn from them really changed my mentality as a player and pushed me on a level which was what I really needed so now having had that experience while having the chance to rejoin Arsenal in the FA Women’s Super League (WSL) is great.

America is of course a vast country. Why do you think they have proved so successful in the women’s game down the years?

I really think it’s down to their mentality that we never had as a culture. With five of us going over there I had a chance to see them perform first hand and I think it’s their never-say-die attitude and their ‘we’re going to win no matter what’ mindset and that really helped us and I think it now shows in our national team.

Is the collapse of the Women’s Porfessional Soccer (WPS) league in America damaging to the game as a whole?

I wouldn’t say damaging because other pro leagues have been set up such as the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) but no matter what competition is set up, you want women’s football to succeed whether it’s in America, England and so on. It’s disheartening that they cancelled it but hopefully the new league will prove successful.

Arsenal enjoys a stellar reputation in the English women’s game. You must be confident ahead of the 2013 WSL campaign. Can Arsenal win the title for the third year in a row?

I’d like to hope so but in the women’s game it’s good that other clubs have gone out and strengthened. Chelsea have brought in some new internationals from Iceland and Sweden, Liverpool have got a kind of whole new team and have received a lot of backing from the men so I think this year is going to prove a lot more competitive but on a personal level, it’s good for us in terms of motivation to push on and win more trophies.

The BBC is showing the Women’s Super League for the first time. Can this only be a good thing?

Yeah, it’s a great thing. Showing women’s football on TV will mean people will get behind it and then they will start to identify with players and really want to back them so for us personally, we need to keep on doing the business and we got to the final of the last European Championships so that’s got to be our aim again – to get to the final and turn that medal into a gold one.

You alluded to Team GB and the entire nation coming together last summer. Has it proven difficult to replicate that excitement since the games have taken place. What do you feel can provide a further boost to the women’s game; is it advertising, ticket prices?

I think definitely the advertising of the women’s game. You know, putting us out there before the actual European Championships start. Like I’ve said before with the BBC and Sky Sports showing more and more women’s football, it’s been great in terms of exposure and long may that continue.

We’ve talked about Arsenal’s chances at domestic level. Obviously you play at international level for England too. How much are you looking forward to Euro 2013?

I’m really looking forward to it. Only because I see everyone working hard but first of all we need to get selected; everyone’s fighting for places and because I’ve got so many international caps it doesn’t mean an instant guarantee in terms of selection; I need to keep working hard for Arsenal, playing well and then hopefully I will get the call and can look forward to the Championships.

What would you say is the biggest difference between the domestic game and the international game, if there is at all?

International football is always a step up from domestic football – you’re playing against the best players, the best countries; you’ve got Germany, Sweden are going to be the hosts and have the backing of the entire nation behind them so it’s definitely a step up but playing for your club – that’s your bread and butter where you want to be winning trophies as well.

We’ve talked about domestic and international football. Of course there is the Champions League as well. Who would you describe as the toughest opponents this year? Who represents a European powerhouse?

It’s got to be Lyon. I think they’ve won it for the last couple of seasons. They’ve got a lot of backing from the men, a lot of money in their structure, they’ve got some of the best players – Swedish players, French players who also play for the French national team and they’re certainly a team to look out for.

You’ve eluded a couple of times to the women’s game receiving the backing of the men. Do you get much interaction with the Arsenal men’s team?

Not much. We do train at London Colney but after the men have gone home when there’s nobody there but they do give us a lot of backing. Lukas Podolski was sending out tweets yesterday congratulating us on our Champions League win and that backing is there so there is some interaction.

Speaking of interaction, social media technologies are a global phenomenon nowadays. Where do you stand on Twitter? Do you see these functions as beneficial or distracting?

For women’s football it’s definitely been more of a positive. You can identify with your fans, interact and it just breaks down that barrier; there’s more interaction when you send a tweet back and fans get one and they’re excited so it’s definitely a positive.

The Arsenal men’s team are enduring a difficult campaign. Do you see them finishing in the top four this season?

I think we might creep in the back door but only if other teams slip up. Tottenham went on a great run last year and then they slipped up so hopefully, fingers crossed, we can get some points and I think we might scrape it.

Do you still believe Arsene Wenger is the man for the job?

Yeah, I do. I just think we need some big new signings. When you look at the team of old when we were at Highbury – the likes of Henry, Bergkamp, you could reel off the names but when you look at the current crop, I think we need some more experienced players in there.

It seems that it only takes a couple of defeats nowadays and the word ‘crisis’ is being bandied around. Is modern football fickle in this respect?

It is hard because everybody wants to be winning trophies but like you say, a couple of defeats and the reaction can prove exaggerated but the players are trying their hardest and fans should get behind them.

Alex Scott wears the PUMA evoSPEED boot available now from www.prodirectsoccer.com. Alex is a speed junkie, but what’s in your nature? To find out which PUMA boot matches your game head to www.facebook.com/pumafootball