Manchester City midfielder Jill Scott completes loan move to Aston Villa until end of season

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Jill Scott - Manchester City midfielder Jill Scott completes loan move to Aston Villa until end of season - GETTY IMAGES
Jill Scott - Manchester City midfielder Jill Scott completes loan move to Aston Villa until end of season - GETTY IMAGES

Aston Villa Women have completed the signing of England and Manchester City midfielder Jill Scott on loan for the rest of the season, as first revealed by Telegraph Sport.

The 34-year-old chose to move on loan in the hope of boosting her chances of selection for this summer's European Championship, and Villa are understood to have fought off at least three other Women's Super League clubs who had expressed interest in Scott, to secure her signature.

Sources have also said the Aston Villa are attempting to sign a striker before the WSL transfer window closes on the January 28 deadline.

Scott has been with Manchester City for more than eight years but spent the second half of last season on loan at Everton, similarly seeking more first-team starts. Insiders have described the relationship between Scott and Manchester City as very good and that all parties were determined to find the best option for the central midfielder.

Scott is one of the sport's best-known figures and has played 153 times for her country, as well as representing Great Britain at two Olympic Games, and she has helped England reach the semi-finals of three consecutive major tournaments. After spells at Sunderland and Everton, she joined Manchester City in 2013 and has gone on to help the club win three FA Cups, three Continental Tyres League Cups and the 2016 league title.

Aston Villa manager Carla Ward described signing Scott as a "no-brainer", adding: "To have the chance to acquire one of England's most decorated footballers is a chance we couldn't turn down. Jill will bring so much to this group, not only on the pitch but I see her having a huge impact off it too. We have some hugely exciting young talents coming through, so for them to learn from someone of Jill's stature will be massive.”

Meanwhile, Scott's former Sunderland team-mate Carly Telford has left Chelsea to sign for new American NWSL outfit San Diego Wave, who will be coached by their former England colleague Casey Stoney. Telford, 34, has tended to be the third-choice shot-stopper at Chelsea in recent months alongside undertaking a coaching role with the west London club's youth teams on a part-time basis.

Capped 27 times by England since her international debut in 2007, Telford will become the second English player to join Stoney's San Diego team, after striker Jodie Taylor. On Telford's move, Chelsea manager Emma Hayes told the club's website: "Carly has been a fantastic servant to the club across two different spells. We didn’t want to lose her, but we could not hold her back from taking this fantastic opportunity. We wish Carly well and she knows she’ll always be welcome back here any time."

Why Scott's move could suit all parties

With just over five months to go before England's opening match of the Euros, Scott knows that starting games regularly is going to be key to impressing the Lionesses' head coach Sarina Wiegman, if she is to secure her spot in the national team's most important major tournament for a generation, on home soil.

She similarly spent time on loan with Everton in the latter part of last season and subsequently earned a spot in Team GB's Olympics squad, so a comparable methodology is at play here too, but it is not only Scott who will benefit.

For Villa, this signing has three advantages. Not only are they adding a much decorated, internationally experienced player to their midfield, who will also provide words of wisdom for Villa's emerging young stars such as promising 17-year-old midfielder Olivia McLoughlin, but bringing Scott to the club also sends out a strong signal about the club's ambition.

The England veteran is the highest-profile signing Villa's women's team have made to date, rivalled only by last-season's short-term acquisition of Japan star Mana Iwabuchi, and it's a move that is likely to help persuade others to join Carla Ward's side too.

As for Manchester City, with whom Scott's place in history was cemented long ago, this move could enable them to add a fresh face before the window closes, with the club believed to have been making enquiries about goalkeepers to add further cover for injured England shot-stopper Ellie Roebuck, who is close to a return.

And for Wiegman, who has several midfield options to consider when picking her Euros squad, it will only be a positive thing to see Scott playing week-in, week-out. Competition for places is high, with Jordan Nobbs, Katie Zelem, Lucy Staniforth and Georgia Stanway also among those in strong contention to join the central midfielders list which is already almost certain to include Manchester City's holding midfielder, Keira Walsh.

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