PLAY­ERS MAK­ING HIS­TORY No job too small

Sunday Herald - - 19.03.17 SPORT -

THESE are ex­hil­a­rat­ing times for Manch­ester City de­fender Jen Beat­tie. Like her Scot­land team-mate Jane Ross, she has Cham­pi­ons League foot­ball to savour ahead of Euro 2017.

The 25-year-old lists win­ning Europe’s top club com­pe­ti­tion as among her ca­reer tar­gets. Her club has a quar­ter-fi­nal, first leg, tie against For­tuna Hjor­ring in Den­mark on Thurs­day.

Beat­tie is ex­pected to line up in cen­tral de­fence, just as she does for Scot­land – but she has, to put it mildly, been around the houses. She won her first cap in 2008 at 17 against the United States, and be­gan her in­ter­na­tional life as a full back.

The Glaswe­gian was then pushed up to striker, where she rat­tled in most of her 22 goals in­clud­ing four in a friendly against North­ern Ire­land. “We were laugh­ing at this the other day,” she points out. “But I think I’ve played every po­si­tion for Scot­land apart from goal­keeper and left wing.”

With her height and strength she would prob­a­bly make an ex­cel­lent goalie too – just as she might have been a for­mi­da­ble rugby player. But de­spite the ob­vi­ous fam­ily con­nec­tion – father John and older brother John­nie both played with dis­tinc­tion for Scot­land – it’s a game she has, per­haps sur­pris­ingly, never tried.

“I was en­cour­aged to play every sport as a kid, but rugby was never avail­able for girls at our school,” she says. In­stead she made his­tory by be­com­ing the first – and al­most cer­tainly only – girl to cap­tain the Glas­gow Pri­mary Schools foot­ball se­lect. Her se­nior clubs have been Celtic, Arse­nal, Mont­pel­lier and City, with a loan spell at the lat­ter’s sis­ter club, Mel­bourne City, thrown in. Not bad for a player who thought col­lege soc­cer in Amer­ica might be as good as it got. De­spite her rel­a­tively young age, Beat­tie has al­ready won 106 caps. “Long may it con­tinue and fin­gers crossed,” she says. “I never thought I’d get to 100.” She lists that land­mark as among her ca­reer high­lights, along with win­ning the FA WSL league and Con­ti­nen­tal Cup dou­ble last sea­son. De­spite en­joy­ing her so­journ in the south of France, and the months in Mel­bourne, Beat­tie has no in­ten­tion of re­sum­ing her trav­els any time soon. “I’m very content at Man City,” she points out. “It’s a bril­liant club and it was a good de­ci­sion to move there (from Mont­pel­lier).” She lives within walk­ing dis­tance of the Eti­had, is em­ployed by a club which gen­uinely val­ues women’s foot­ball, and gets to watch men’s home games. “It’s a re­ally good learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence be­cause we play quite a sim­i­lar sys­tem – so it’s cool watch­ing the men’s first team and try­ing to em­u­late what they do,” she says.

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