Ex-Arsenal and England defender Alex Scott reveals she thought of quitting as TV pundit after death and rape threats during men's 2018 World Cup

Alex Scott tells how tough it was dealing with internet troll abuse (PA Images)
15:24pm, Mon 13 Jan 2020
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

Former Arsenal and England defender Alex Scott has revealed she was close to leaving her short-lived punditry career after she received death and rape threats during the men's 2018 World Cup.

The 35-year-old retired from the professional game in 2017 and was certain that she wanted to stay involved in football.

The 140-capped player told the Sunday Telegraph's Stella Magazine: "I knew I couldn't play forever, but I still wanted to stay involved. So after I retired I got work experience at TV studios covering football."

As a result, she became the first female pundit on Sky Sports in 2018. In the same year she was taken to the men's World Cup by the BBC, where she worked alongside the likes of Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer.

"I never thought of myself as a female pundit. Like the others, I was just a former footballer talking about football," she continued.

It was during the tournament that Scott started to receive death and rape threats.

"I never understood why me talking about football offended people. They were upset I knew what I was talking about. Why are they so surprised and angry that I’m good at what I do?

"But I knew me sitting alongside Gary Lineker would make it easier for the female players coming up behind me.

"Then over Christmas 2018 I thought, why am I doing this? Is being on TV talking about football worth being threatened on social media? But then something shifted and I thought, why should I stop doing it? They are not going to win."

Alex Scott made 76 appearances for Arsenal between 2012-2018 (PA Images)

With women's football in full flow, Scott has also spoken of her time at Arsenal. In 1999, she said she was getting paid just £100 per match at the same time the Gunners' brought in Thierry Henry for £11 million.

She continued: "Back then I didn’t care how much more the male players were getting paid. I was just happy to be there."

During her time at the club the women were given hand-me-down shirts and boots from the men's team. In their spare time, they earned extra money working in the clubs laundry rooms washing players' kit including Ian Wright's shirt.