Phil Neville has confirmed he will leave his role as England Women head coach when his contract expires in July 2021.
Neville was due to lead hosts England into the European Championships next year but Sky Sports News reported on Wednesday that he would announce he is stepping down after it was confirmed the tournament will be postponed until July 2022.
The FA is keen to have a coach in place to be in charge of the revised Euros in 2022 and Women’s World Cup in 2023 – and Neville is to be part of a team advising on potential coaching candidates.
He will continue to coach the team when football returns following the impact of the coronavirus.
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“I am looking forward to getting back to work with the team as soon as possible,” said Neville. “We have a fantastic squad of players and there is plenty to work on as we look to progress as a team going into 2021.”
The FA’s director of women’s football, Sue Campbell said: “Once football returns after this difficult period, Phil will continue his work with the Lionesses on the further development of his squad. I will support him fully with that important task whilst moving forward with the crucial succession planning process.”
Neville is due to take charge of the Team GB Olympic team – and while a final decision has not been made, it is looking increasingly unlikely he will be the manager in Tokyo next year.
“We will now discuss next steps with the British Olympic Association and the home nations with regard to Team GB Football and we are not in a position to make any further comment at this time,” said Campbell.
It is thought Neville is already looking at other opportunities within the game.
Neville became Lionesses head coach in January 2018, leading the side to the SheBelievesCup title in 2019 and a fourth-place finish at the World Cup later that summer.
But a run of seven defeats in their last 11 games has raised question marks about his future.
Neville defended the performance of his side after suffering defeats to USA and Spain in defence of their SheBelievesCup title earlier this year.
‘Lionesses stopped playing for Neville’
Former England player Lianne Sanderson believes Neville has lost the support of the dressing room.
“He hasn’t taken the team forward and that’s the honest truth,” she told Sky Sports News. “The girls don’t look like they are playing for him. It just looks like there’s something missing.
“If the Euros were happening (in 2021) I think he would still have been in charge but I think it needed to happen.
“Phil has been quite critical of himself, but I think there’s times when he’s not helped himself with the comments he has made.
“He’s been quite naive when it comes to working in women’s football compared to the men’s game. It’s a completely different game, even though it’s the same sport.”
Analysis: Gary Neville on Phil Neville
Speaking on Sky Sports’ The Football Show, Gary Neville said:
“The tournament that he was going to manage has obviously been taken away from him – there was obviously a problem there.
“When I spoke to him the other day he said it is business as usual. He is going to see out his contract.
“The unfortunate thing for Phil is that he won’t have what most international managers have which is an opportunity to coach another tournament. He leaves this job and that is obviously because of this (coronavirus) crisis.”
Hayes ‘extremely happy’ at Chelsea
Chelsea Women head coach Emma Hayes told The Football Show that Phil Neville had taken the women’s game to “a whole new level”.
“It’s reached the heights and broadcast figures we could only have dreamed of,” she said. “We have to thank Phil for raising the standards in the women’s game.
“It’s exciting that there will be an Olympics, followed by a home Euros, followed by a World Cup so the future is looking bright. Hopefully post coronavirus, we’re able to come through without too much damage being done and we can pick up where we left off.
“There is more parity than ever and that includes the level of expectation. But Phil’s always had the best of the women’s game at heart. He’s always wanted to raise the interest of the sport.”
Asked if she would consider the England job, Hayes said: “I still have half a season to go and a full season next season to contemplate, where hopefully we’ll qualify for Europe.
“It’s been no secret that I have really big ambitions to win the Champions League and I think we have built a team that is capable of that; we have a few more pieces to add to finish the side off.
“I love the day-to-day coaching. I’ve loved every minute working at Chelsea and I look forward to building on the work I’ve done so far.
“Of course it’s an honour to be linked with the national team job. As an older person I’m probably more considered for entering into international football at some stage but right now, I’m extremely happy at Chelsea.”
‘Stoney would be fantastic for England’
Manchester United Women’s manager Casey Stoney would be the ideal candidate to replace Neville at England, according to Stoney’s former team-mate Sue Smith.
Speaking about possible successors to Neville, Smith told Sky Sports News: “There’s lots of names going around at the moment. Emma Hayes always gets called upon because she has done a fantastic job at Chelsea.
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