Who is Alex Scott? Life and career of new Football Focus host - and why Dan Walker is leaving the show
She founded the first UK female football academy for young aspiring football players, in 2011
Former footballer and pundit Alex Scott has become the first female presenter of Football Focus, taking over from Dan Walker’s hosting duties.
The 36-year-old retired from playing football in 2017 and has enjoyed a successful presenting career since.
So, who is she, how successful was she as a professional footballer and what has she said about taking the reins from Walker? This is what you need to know.
Who is Alex Scott?
The ex-professional footballer was born in 1984 and grew up with her mother in east London, attending St Peter’s London Docks Primary school in Wapping.
She showed strong talent and skills for the sport from a young age, signing with Arsenal when she was eight.
Scott remained in the Arsenal youth squad until the 2004-2005 season, when she moved to Birmingham City, but the club faced financial difficulties as she returned to Arsenal in 2006.
She remained with Arsenal until her move to the US in September 2008, where she joined Chicago Red Stars.
During her time in the States, she played for the Boston Breakers and lived with her teammate at the time, Kelly Smith.
Both women returned to England to play for Arsenal together in 2012 after the collapse of their American league.
Scott went on to have a hugely successful career in British professional women’s football, playing in the World Cup for England and the 2012 Olympics.
In 2011, Scott also founded 'The Alex Scott Academy' for female footballers aged 16–19 years in partnership with Kingston College and Puma.
The academy was the first of its kind in the UK and its mission was to grow women’s football into a mainstream sport.
As of her retirement in 2017, Scott was the second most capped England player, with 140 appearances.
Scott has no children and is reportedly single. She told Hello in 2019: “I'm single but it's not like I need to find someone.
"I like things to happen organically and if someone comes into my life and we get on, then great. It's not like I need to go searching for it."
It was reported that she was dating Corrie’s Sam Roberton (Adam Barlow) in September 2020, but this was not confirmed.
What has she done aside from playing football?
Scott now works as a sports pundit, as well as presenting and also appearing on a number of celebrity contestant shows - such as Strictly Come Dancing and Bear Grylls’ Mission Survive.
Her media career began while she was still playing for Arsenal, as she wrote a weekly women's football column in the Morning Star newspaper.
She also appeared on programmes such as Soccer AM, and had stints presenting on BBC Sport, BT Sport, and Sky Sports.
In 2016, she won ITV’s Mission Survive and upon retiring from football, began co-presenting Match of the Day Kickabout.
Her first major gig came as presenter of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, becoming the first female football pundit at a World Cup for the BBC. She returned to the BBC in 2019 to cover the women’s World Cup.
In August 2018, she became the first female pundit on Sky Sports, joining the Super Sunday team. A year later, it was announced she would be the new co-host of Sky Sports' Goals on Sunday alongside Chris Kamara.
In 2019, she appeared on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, partnered with dancer Neil Jones.
She came fifth in the competition, telling Hello magazine: "I'm a huge fan of Strictly and have dreamt of being on it for years, so I've loved every minute.
"From the start, I told my friends I wanted to be with Neil. The first time we met, we really got on and when we sat down and talked we had a real connection."
Jones described Scott as the “perfect student”, saying: “Training sessions are like working really hard and being at a spa at the same time.
“You always want somebody who you can push and who wants to listen and learn, and in that way she's the perfect student."
In December 2020, Scott was one of the hosts for the 2020 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award.
In April 2021, Dan Walker announced that he would be leaving Football Focus after 12 years, Scott became the Bookies’ favourite to replace him.
Has Scott commented on her potential new role?
Scott announced her new position in a column for BBC Sport, she wrote: "When I was a kid, I would never have watched television and thought someone like me could be presenting a programme like Football Focus.
"For the BBC to trust me with this role and allow me to be my true, authentic self means a lot."
"From day one, Dan Walker has guided me - and crucially he let me ask questions, Dan knew I wanted to be a presenter so he helped hone my skills and allowed me to step out of my 'pundit' comfort zone on the show."
She also acknowledged others “behind the scenes”, who have “helped [her] to get to this point.”
Scott wrote: "In fact, everyone around me - from Gabby Logan to Mark Chapman - and so many people behind the scenes have helped me to get to this point.
"It will never be lost on me that these kind, amazing people within the industry have supported and encouraged me to be the best I can be."