Alex Scott has admitted she is continually accused of ‘ticking a box’ in her broadcasting career, as she is hotly tipped to replace Sue Barker on A Question of Sport.
The former footballer has been at the centre of much discussion – and relentless online trolling – amid rumours she’s set to become the new host of the popular sport BBC quiz show, replacing Sue, 64, who was axed after 24 years.
Speaking to Women’s Health’s Going For Goal podcast, Alex, 36, said: ‘Every job that I’m linked to and every job that I’m going to be doing on screen for the next couple of years, I know the first thing people will be saying – a lot of it because it is already happening – it’s because I’m ticking a box.
Candid: Alex Scott has admitted she is continually accused of ‘ticking a box’ in her broadcasting career, as she is hotly tipped to replace Sue Barker on A Question of Sport
‘I came back from playing professional in America in 2012 just before the London Olympics, I was already thinking about my career after sport then.
‘I went and I did a media degree in 2013 – I spent two years doing that for this same reason, so that no one could ever say that I was just ticking a box.’
Alex currently has a career in broadcasting, notably appearing as a pundit during the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, having retired from football in 2017.
She went on to admit to Women’s Health that she goes to therapy, describing it as being ‘like an awakening’.
She said: ‘I absolutely love it. Some people think, oh going to therapy, why am I going to have someone tell me about myself, I know about myself, but it’s like a weight off my shoulders every single time I go. It has given me tools to deal with things.’
Speaking to Women’s Health’s Going For Goal podcast , Alex, 36, said: ‘Every job that I’m linked to and every job that I’m going to be doing on screen for the next couple of years, I know the first thing people will be saying is it’s because I’m ticking a box’
The former Strictly contestant admitted recently that she was severely trolled during her career and that her mental health suffered.
She also explained that she didn’t admit to it and would try hiding it, asserting that she knows now that ‘it’s okay not to be okay’.
Alex explained that she aspired to have a broadcast career like Gabby Logan or Clare Balding.
‘They are so well respected in their field, ultimate professionals,’ she said.
On inspiring young people, Alex added: ‘I absolutely love it when people come up to me in the street, and it’s not just young girls watching me, it’s young boys.
‘They love seeing me and talking about football, because that’s where we’re going to change perceptions and change how normal it is that anyone can sit there and do that job.’
Rumoured: Alex was again targeted by trolls after she was tipped to become A Question Of Sports new host. Sue Barker, 64, was axed from the show, alongside team captains Matt Dawson (left) and Phil Tufnell (right)
While Alex’s A Question of Sport gig has yet to be confirmed, the east London native has revealed to Hello! that she’s choosing to focus on the majority of positive comments she receives for her punditry on the BBC and Sky since she retired from playing sports.
Speaking of her career transition, Scott said: ‘At first, I thought no one liked me on TV as there was a whole lot of negativity online, but I’ve got to a place now where those sorts of comments are only like 10 to 20 per cent and I have a whole audience that does love me and is behind me.
‘I don’t want to let that small percentage stop me or get me down when I’ve worked so hard to be where I am.’
Alex said she used to go to recording studios after training to get experience, and did a degree in sports writing and broadcasting, adding: ‘I prepare extensively for every show and love what I do.’
Insisting that it is ‘OK to be more than one thing’, she said: ‘I can put on a dress but also the next day put on my football boots, and that should be celebrated.
‘I’m so proud of my career but, as Strictly showed, there can be so many parts to a person, and I’m no different. I love fashion and music and I love going to my mum’s in east London for a roast dinner.’
She went on: ‘I came back from playing professional in America in 2012 just before the London Olympics, I was already thinking about my career after sport then’
Scott’s latest interview was unveiled days after she insisted her A Question Of Sport hosting job is not yet a done deal as she thanked fans for their ‘love and support’.
The ex-England defender played down speculation BBC bosses have rubber-stamped her appointment to replace Sue Barker.
On Instagram, she wrote: ‘The love & support shown to me yesterday has me smiling through the weekend #thankyou I am going to #keeponkeepingon like always!’
Rumours of her new presenting role were met with a fierce Twitter backlash which included vile trolling referencing Scott’s race.
Scott, who is of Irish and Jamaican descent, has previously opened up about her dive into a ‘dark place’ following online abuse in the past.
BBC Match Of The Day presenter Gary Lineker, 59, fanned rumours Scott’s appointment had been confirmed when he tweeted: ‘Congratulations and good luck to @AlexScott on being the new host for Question Of Sport.
‘Smart, knowledgeable and perfectly qualified for the role. Oh… and if you have a problem with Alex getting the job, you might just be part of the problem.’
The tweet, which was later deleted, made reference to the racist trolling of Scott in recent days.
The BBC was forced to deny claims she had got the role as 64-year-old Sue Barker’s replacement, saying that nothing had been decided just yet.
Gig: The former footballer has faced relentless trolling online amid rumours she’s set to be the new host of A Question Of Sport – a gig which she insisted was not a done deal
A BBC Spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘This is all speculation, and no conversations have been made about the future line-up.’
Alex has previously spoken about being the target of trolls and spoken candidly about how she’s asked for help in the past.
In conversation with Watford captain Troy Deeney as part of the Heads Up campaign focusing on mental health, the star revealed the extent to which the online ‘trolling’ affected her.
‘When I retired, getting trolled, I found that I was turning to drink to try and hide everything, hide what I was feeling,’ she said.
‘I didn’t tell anyone, I didn’t tell my mum because I didn’t want her to worry or put that stress on her. I was just that person (who thought) ‘I can look after myself, I can deal with stuff’ but obviously sometimes that’s the wrong way.
‘I got to a dark place and it was over Christmas, that’s when I was like ‘I can’t carry on like this, it’s not me, I need to seek help’ and that led me into therapy.
‘I want to take that stigma away from it. Now when I talk about mental health, straight away I’m smiling because I know what it’s done for me to leave that place. I’m content. I’m happy, and I’ve used the tools that I’ve learned to be in that place.’
Listen to the full Alex Scott interview on the Women’s Health Going for Goal podcast from 15th October.
Pressure: Alex has previously outlined how, as a woman of colour working in football, there is more pressure on her to perform in her punditry roles