She unlaced her football boots and swapped the pitch for the ballroom, and now Alex Scott is set to add another string to her bow as she takes the helm of a Question of Sport.
After days of speculation, the 35-year-old England player-turned-pundit has been confirmed as Sue Barker’s successor on the long-running BBC sports show.
Former Strictly contestant Scott, who once revealed she’s faced threats of rape and acid attacks, will take over next year after Barker, 64, was axed after 24 years, alongside team captains Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell.
The move will be Scott’s biggest presenting gig to date, having forged a successful career as a pundit, featuring on Sky Sports and the BBC.
After covering the men’s World Cup in Russia for the BBC in 2018, Scott said her presence on screen in a traditionally male-dominated profession triggered horrendous abuse which began while she was still playing.
Said later turned to alcohol and underwent therapy in a bid to cope with the trolling.
But the former Arsenal and England footballer will defy the critics when she takes up the post next year.
From the pitch to the ballroom: Alex played for England and Arsenal before becoming a successful TV presenter (left in 2017). Right, on Strictly last year
After days of speculation, the 35-year-old England player-turned-pundit (pictured at the UEFA Women’s Euro 2017) has been confirmed as Sue Barker’s successor on the long-running BBC sports show
The face that says she got the job! Ex England footballer Alex Scott was confirmed as Sue Barker’s replacement on A Question Of Sport on Thursday (pictured on Saturday)
Family: Alex, pictured with her mother, Carol in March 2019, is of Irish and Jamaican descent
In an interview with the Guardian in 2018, Scott detailed the abuse she was subjected to. She said: ‘The comments were like: “I know where you live. I’m going to come and throw acid in your face. I’m going to rape you'”
While she says she’s learned to ignore the comments, she says seeing how ‘it upsets my mum is hard.’
The former Arsenal right-back, who was taken on by the London club at the age of just 8, said it ‘blows my mind’ when young girls hail her as an inspiration.
Speaking last year, she said she didn’t have any female footballers to look up to when she was a child, and instead idolised her mother Carol McKee and Arsenal legend Ian Wright.
Touching on the growing popularity in women’s football, she told The Sun on Sunday, ‘I love the fact girls have more visibility now. Not just across sport, in all industries.’
Since rising to the top of her game in football, including playing for England’s Lionesses 140 times, Alex went on to become the first female pundit for men’s Premier League games on Sky Sports.
Speaking in 2019, she made clear her ambition to appear on prime time TV when she said she would more than happily ‘put my name in the hat’ should Gary Lineker decide he’s ‘had enough’ of fronting Match of the Day.
Scott has guest-starred on A Question Of Sport twice, with one occasion being aired in November 2016.
During the episode she appeared alongside Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell, England cricketer Mark Wood and Scottish rugby star Stuart Hogg.
During her athletic career, Scott has represented Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics and was awarded an MBE in 2016 as well as scoring 12 goals for England.
After retiring from football in 2017 she went on to be the first female pundit on Sky Sport’s Super Sunday show.
Scott has plenty of presenting experience as she has also co-presented CBBC’s Match of the Day Kickabout and BBC One’s The Women’s Football Show.
Last year, she appeared on Strictly Come Dancing and was partnered with professional dancer Neil Jones.
Changes: Sue, 64, has been axed from the BBC show, alongside team captains Matt Dawson (left) and Phil Tufnell (right)
On screen: Alex previously appeared on A Question Of Sport in 2016 alongside Scottish rugby star Stuart Hogg (pictured during the show)
Gary Lineker, 59, announced the news on Twitter on Thursday, but was accused of ‘race-baiting’ when he penned: ‘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.’
An insider told The Sun that Alex was ‘lined up’ as Sue’s replacement because she has lots of sporting knowledge and experience.
They said: ‘Like Sue, she’s a former sportswoman and she also has five years of broadcasting under her belt.
‘This has nothing to do with gender, nor is it a case of the BBC trying to be woke.
The source also explained how Alex had impressed BBC bosses when she appeared on the show in the past.
It comes after Barker, who will stay on as the corporation’s face of Wimbledon, told of her sadness at having to leave the show after 24 years.
She said that the BBC had to remove her from A Question Of Sport as she would never have left her dream job voluntarily.
She told Sportsmail on Sunday: ‘I love the show so much they would have to remove me, it would have been tough for me to walk away.
‘I’ve absolutely loved my 24 years fronting A Question Of Sport, it’s been my dream job,’ she said.
‘But I understand the BBC want to take the show in a new direction and I’m sad to say goodbye.’
Barker will continue with presenting duties for the next two summers at Wimbledon, having signed a three-year deal last year.
Sportsmail understands she signed a new three-year contract last year to carry her through until at least 2022, something that will come as a relief to many viewers.
The decision to axe Barker sparked fury from critics who accused the BBC of ageism, including former BBC radio and TV presenter Wendy Austin who tweeted: ‘No ageism/sexism in the BBC then…
Ex-newsreader Jennie Bond told GMB: ‘Sue will be hurting this morning. You can’t do anything about your age and there is a pressure on television, particularly for women, to look younger.’
Ex-Tottenham and England midfielder Jermaine Jenas was also said to be in the running to become one of the new team captains.