Phil Neville to step down as England Women head coach

Phil Neville will stand down from his role as England Women head coach by next summer.

Neville’s future is set to be announced once the dates for the delayed Women’s European Championships are decided. The tournament is taking place in 2022 instead of next year and the schedule is due to be decided by UEFA on Thursday.

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Neville would stay on as head coach until the end of his contract, which is due to expire in the summer of 2021 after the now-delayed Euros, unless a natural appointment of a successor is ready beforehand.

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.

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.

It is thought Neville is already looking at other opportunities within the game.

He 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.

Gary Neville: Phil will fulfil his contract if asked

Gary Neville said he had spoken to his brother on Wednesday afternoon and believes the England Women’s boss will honour his current contract if he is asked to.

“Phil has 14 months left on his contract,” he told Sky Sports’ The Football Show. “Obviously the Olympics and the European Championships are within that period. The problem is now that obviously with coronavirus, those tournaments have been taken out of the calendar.

“International managers’ contracts run to the end of tournaments and if those have gone, you’ve got a real problem because you’re just coaching friendlies. That’s the situation that I think has developed. It’s out there so I imagine there’ll need to be a statement to add some clarity.

“From Phil’s point of view, he has 14 months left. It’s just unfortunate that everyone’s having to adapt; essentially, with tournaments going, the rug’s been pulled under his feet from what would have been major goals as part of his career.

Asked if Phil Neville could still lead England into next year’s Olympics, Gary said: “Phil’s the type of person that he will do whatever he’s asked to do within his contract. He’ll adapt.

“The issue will be beyond his contract, where tournaments occur that he’s not in control of. Is any international football going to happen in the next six, eight months? The virus will decide what happens.”

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 ae’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.

“I think Casey Stoney would be fantastic. I’m sure Manchester United fans wouldn’t like me for saying that because she has done such a good job in the WSL for them.

“If you’re looking for something similar to how the England men are doing it with the likes of Gareth Southgate where he has really developed himself and the team. Casey Stoney could do that as well.”

Analysis: The players need to start taking responsibility

Former England international Rachel Yankey:

“I think it’s good that we are questioning the manager and the players. There has to be that accountability because it is not good enough,” Yankey – who was capped 129 times by her country – told Sky Sports News after England’s 1-0 loss to Spain in the SheBelieves Cup in March.

“I don’t think it’s panic stations at this moment in time, but we want the team to be playing better than they are.

“We’ve heard [England] staff and players speak about a World Cup hangover. I think there was disappointment because they truly believed they should have gone on and won the World Cup.

“It’s taking quite a long time to get back into the swing of things. They need to re-energise themselves and do it quickly.

“I don’t think it’s as easy as saying that’s all Phil Neville’s fault. The players need to take responsibility for their performance.”

‘Neville not the problem for England’

The Daily Mail’s chief sports writer Martin Samuel, on the Sunday Supplement:

“The problem is not Phil Neville,” he told the Sunday Supplement in March. “At the 2015 World Cup, against Canada we have a pass completion rate of 46.8 per cent. Blind folded, the national average would be 47.6 per cent. We are 23rd out of 24 in pass completion. Our best in that tournament is 69 per cent and our average is 61 per cent, so we are a poor passing team.

“Under Mark Sampson, we were a long-ball team, but we are better organised and physically, that is England’s strength. But it happened with the men, everyone gets better organised and tactically, and then what comes into it is, how well can you play, pass, keep possession and how many chances can you make?

“And if you cannot do that, everyone catches up with you and goes past you, that is what has happened over the last five years. And the job of Phil Neville, who is trying to do this, is to get our technical level up so that then, the physicality and organisation of the English game means you can beat Spain, Holland and these countries.

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