Jane Ross in training with Manchester United Women

At home with Jane Ross

In part two of our series to see how the United Women squad has been coping since the coronavirus outbreak, we speak to Scottish striker Jane Ross.

Back on the island where she grew up, the Reds' no.19 is focusing on the positives: spending some rare quality time with her parents and sister, while maintaining her fitness in one of the most picturesque parts of Britain…

Hi Jane. We understand you’re back in your home town of Rothesay?

Yes I am, on the Isle of Bute. I was in Manchester until last weekend, but with the situation I figured I would go home to my parents for a while. Obviously there’s a lot of uncertainty as to how long this situation is going to last, so for me in terms of facilities up here and having some company around, I thought this was the best decision for me.

Is it just the three of you up there at the family home?

My sister is here also, plus the dog as well, Callie.

Considering where your career’s taken you in recent years, we’re guessing you don’t often get the chance to spend so long back on the island?

To be honest I normally spend just a week max back here when I get the chance, so to be here for a number of weeks is nice, despite everything that’s happening. It’s been years since I’ve been able to spend so much time here in one go, and it’s obviously nice to be able to spend time with my parents and family, and be back where I was brought up.

Talk us through a typical day for you over the past week…

I’ve got a training programme from [United performance coach] Elle Turner and the club, which I’ve been following while in lockdown. I normally get up quite early, for 8am, have some breakfast, relax and read a book for an hour, or chat to my family if they are around, and then I'll start my training for the day. There’s some conditioning in there, some days I have power and speed work to do also, plus there’s always some sort of strength and weights training to do. It’s about making the most of the equipment I have here. Elle’s been great – she’s kept in contact and she’s been helping me modify my programme so I can use things I've got here to try and keep on top of my fitness. I never have the same programme on a day-to-day basis.

We can see on Google Maps that you’ve got some nice open space nearby…

I have. My parents’ house is really close to a really big public park – it’s literally a one-to-two minute walk away, and the park is so quiet and isolated apart from having the odd dog walker, giving me plenty of open space. I’m able to go down there and get my conditioning and some of my fitness done, which is great. The weather was a bit bleak and wet when I first came back but Scotland had four or five really nice days after that, so it was nice to go out and train in the sun.

What would you advise anyone looking to stay in shape while in lockdown right now?

Trying to stay active and doing something every day is not only good for you physically but good for you mentally as well. It’ll help you feel a bit better. There are a lot of programmes going around on social media about ways to keep active, even if you’ve got very little space indoors. There are high-intensity interval training [HIIT] sessions you can do, and there are always forms of weight sessions you can do, even without any proper equipment.

Tell us how you’ve been staying in touch with your friends and extended family?

Generally phone calls, to my gran and other family who aren’t currently here at home. I also have Zoom to keep in touch with the team. It’s nice to keep in contact with everyone and find out what we're all getting up to during our time in lockdown. Also FaceTime and WhatsApp, all those apps to speak to different friends. I think at this point, it’s so important for us all to check in on each other, just to see whether everyone is doing okay.

Jane has scored four goals in 18 appearances for the Reds so far this season.

Absolutely. And how else have you been connecting with your family members at home there?

We’ve just been chatting a lot, and doing some work in the garden as it’s been nice in the last few days. My parents have been keeping themselves busy out there and I’ve been helping them out now and then. We've got the dog here as well, who’s been keeping us entertained on a daily basis – I think she’s loving all the extra attention and having everyone to play with.

Any family games, or TV shows you watch together?

We’ll sit down in the evenings with my parents and my dad likes to flick through his programmes or whatever, but to be honest I haven’t been watching so much TV. We did watch a couple of movies last week and started watching Happy Valley, so we’ll probably work our way through that, but I haven’t been watching Netflix or anything on my own. As for board games, we do have a few here, although we’ve not got round to starting them yet!

Are you hoping to find time to learn a new talent while in lockdown?

I’ve mostly been just reading books when I have spare time, but I’ve got a guitar here that I like to play every now and then. I was studying Italian when I lived in London [while at West Ham last season] so I’ve also been trying to do some of that again now I’ve got the time.

Ross smiles for a picture with a fan, prior to the suspension of football last month.

Ooh, Katie Zelem’s doing the same. Maybe you could have a FaceTime chat in Italian in a few weeks’ time?

Ha, I might need a bit more practice before I’m ready for that, to be honest!

And how do things work in the kitchen at chez Ross?

My mum, my sister and myself will all chip in and do our bit with cooking, and we’re doing well. We’ll write out a shopping list at the start of the week, and try to get all the ingredients for the week in one go. We try to have variety of meals so we’re not eating the same few things in the evening. It’s been good so far; we’ve been mixing it up.

What’s your speciality dish?

I don’t really have one, to be honest, but chicken fajitas is my go-to meal.

What’s the supermarket situation like out on the island?

We have a local Co-op here. It’s a small community and a small island, but it’s not as remote as living out in the countryside, so there are shops around. We do try to limit our shop visits though. We have a local farmers who my parents used regardless, so we have milk delivered. The butchers also deliver meat, and the local shops deliver also. It’s great to support local businesses during these times.

Aside from your day job, what else are you missing right now?

Just the social aspect of going for a coffee or brunch with friends. You find yourself missing simple things like that, as well as the football.

Are you still getting to kick a ball about much?

Yeah, I’ll take a ball down to my training, and once I’m finished with my running I’ll incorporate a bit of ball work.

Thanks for chatting, Jane. What would you like to say to all the United fans at home?

It’s a challenging time for everyone and we're all in this together. Wherever you are, keep yourself busy, with some routine in your day, and hopefully sooner rather than later we’ll all have a bit of normality back in our lives, including playing and watching football. I hope you all stay safe, and take care.

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