England Women’s physical performance manager Dawn Scott has warned them they must improve their fitness drastically if they are to reach the same level as their USA counterparts.
South Shields-born Scott was employed by the FA and used to work under Hope Powell when she was in charge of the England Women’s team.
Scott subsequently made the switch to join the USA Women’s backroom staff in 2010 but, after playing her part in helping them to claim consecutive World Cups in 2015 and 2019, she returned to her native country’s national team set-up last year.
She is now tasked with preparing England for the 2021 European Championships on home soil but – in an exclusive interview with The Women’s Football Show – she gave some indication of how hard England will have to work if they are to improve.
“The fitness results from the US team are just engrained in my brain because I’ve been hands-on there for 10 years,” said Scott.
“From the physical profile that the players have done with England, our best player probably gets the average score of what the equivalent US players would get in that test.
“Our average players are below that so, for me, we need to push our fittest player up and push that average bar higher.
“That’s for the collective to get to where they need to be so they can tolerate those higher match demands.”
Scott also remembers how the USA team were allowed sweet treats before she came on board and how she looked to change the attitude to diet in their squad.
“I remember my first few trips with the US team. They would have cookies or cakes on the menu!” she added.
“I probably went too extreme because I cut all that stuff out and there was a bit of a backlash from the players, so you had to put a few things back in.”
Former England international and regular Sky Sports pundit Sue Smith worked under Scott before she joined the USA team and she praised the imaginative techniques Scott used to get the England Women players on board.
Smith said: “She brought in an Olympic [weight]lifter. He was probably about eight stone wet through but could lift double his own body weight if not more.
“We were all thinking, ‘OK, but how is that going to help us with our football?’.
“He then proceeded to put a table on top of another table on top of another table, it must have been well over six-foot.
“From a standing jump, he jumped onto the top of the table to show the power in his legs just through lifting weights. Straight away, we were like ‘when can we start doing these free weights?!’.
“She just did little innovative things that made us as players think ‘we want to buy into this, we want to buy into what Dawn is bringing through’.”