Manchester City boss Gareth Taylor believes he could not stand in the way of Jill Scott’s Olympic dreams.
The 33-year-old Scott, a veteran of 149 England caps, has joined former club Everton on loan for the rest of the season in a bid to boost her chances of playing in a second Olympic Games this summer.
The experienced midfielder appears to be out of City’s first-team plans despite featuring in her side’s two most recent contests, having started just two Super League games so far this season, and Taylor has outlined that he wanted to support Scott’s ambitions by allowing her to move.
“Jill has a desire to make the Olympic team,” he said. “We want to help players as much as possible.
“We understand they want to play for their national teams – at Olympics, Euros, World Cups… We want to support her with the opportunity, which could be the last one of playing in the Olympics.
“Those coaches will probably be sending the same message: ‘You need to be playing regularly.’”
Movement has been on Taylor’s mind in another sense, too, as he has now returned to the City Football Academy after missing his side’s last two games due to having to self-isolate.
During his time away from the sidelines assistant Alan Mahon, who was also caretaker when Nick Cushing departed last year, has taken charge of the league win over Aston Villa and Conti Cup quarter-final defeat to Chelsea.
Taylor, now raring to get back to the dugout, commended the work and support of staff and players in his absence.
“It was difficult,” he added. “I have to say that the staff and the players have been in touch. I think there's been so many situations over the past season, where we're kind of going into the unknown and we've been thrown situations that we've never had to kind of deal with previously.
“So fair play to the staff, and everybody at the CFA, and all of the players, they've done a really admirable job.”
The first match on his return sees City travel to strugglers Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday, as they bid to bridge the gap to league leaders Chelsea and Manchester United.
Taylor’s side, though, will be without a number of members of their squad, with the American trio of Sam Mewis, Rose Lavelle and new signing Abby Dahlkemper absent on international duty and a number of other fitness concerns present.
Taylor added: “We’re under no illusions – we’re a little bit depleted.
“At the moment, Gemma [Bonner] has a grade two ankle injury, which she picked up in training, unfortunately. It’s a bit more long-term with the severity of the ankle. These things happen.
“[With Caroline Weir] it’s a bit of a niggle – a continuation of a hamstring issue she had pre-Christmas. Unfortunately, it’s flared up again.
“Demi Stokes is another one – carrying a slight knee injury.
“We have to manage Aoife [Mannion, who has been out since suffering an ACL injury in October of 2019] in the right manner. Sometimes, she feels pain; sometimes, it’s alright – but it’s a little way off before she’ll be available for selection.”