Gary Lineker pays Doncaster Womens team captains fees for career-saving surgery

Gary Lineker says the start of his presenting career was ‘appalling’

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Gary Lineker has stepped in to help the captain of Doncaster Rovers Belles pay for career-saving surgery. Sophie Scargill was facing an uphill battle to afford the fees for a knee operation until the Match of the Day presenter generously donated the money she required.

Scargill ruptured knee ligaments and was told treatment on the NHS had a waiting list of several years.

Doncaster offered to loan her the money on an interest-free basis but the 26-year-old midfielder instead decided to start a fundraising campaign to try and find the £5,000 she needed to get surgery done privately.

Scargill received donations from past and present Doncaster Rovers players, including James Coppinger, Gary McSheffrey and Sue Smith, before Lineker’s donation saw her reach the target.

“I see you need another £3,000,” Lineker wrote on Scargill’s JustGiving page. “It’s my pleasure to help. Hope to see you back playing soon.”

Watford left-back Danny Rose, who was born in Doncaster, also appears to have pitched in with £2,500, pushing the raised funds up to £7,708 at the time of writing.

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“Wish you a speedy recovery,” Rose wrote. “Don’t rush it. All the best.”

The donations mean Scargill has smashed her £5,000 target within just four days of the JustGiving page being live.

“Wow. Speechless. Can’t quite believe any of this,” Scargill tweeted.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone that has so generously helped me reach my target.

“@GaryLineker your unbelievable donation means I can now start my recovery process.”

Writing on her JustGiving page, Scargill said: “My life is sport and exercise. I use exercise to deal with every emotion and since I live on my own, it consumes my life.

“In September 2021, I turned my world upside down when I completely ruptured my lateral meniscus and caused severe trauma to the main ligaments in my knee while playing football.

“This now means I can hardly walk, let alone play and my independence and purpose has been stripped from me.

“Although I know I’m very lucky to have the life I do, I need surgery to have any chance of returning to the sport I love.

“This is going to cost me £5000. I’m asking for help to get me back on that pitch and back running on the road.”

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