A few weeks back, Jill Ellis was the favourite to replace Phil Neville of his role as Women’s England national team coach. However, the disparity between the former USA boss and the FA for salaries has closed the door between them.
Now, it is Sarina Wiegman, current Netherlands’s manager, the Football Association’s preferred choice to succeed Phil Neville as the manager of England Women. The 50-year-old manager has emerged as the front-runner to lead the Lionesses into a home Euros next year and the World Cup in 2023 after 79 of the 142 applicants were deemed to have met the minimum criteria set out by the FA for the role.
Despite the financial struggles of the organisation, which mainly dictated this decision, the head of women’s football, Sue Campbell, determined to secure the best candidate after a number of experienced managers withdrew from the process which followed the sacking of Mark Sampson, resulting in the FA unexpectedly sounding out Neville.
That has been reflected in the decision of the FA to keep open the possibility of the new manager also leading Team GB into next summer’s postponed Olympic Games.
The FA would clearly make a perfect acquisition with her signing; after all, Wiegman’s recent credentials include having led the Netherlands to an odds-defying triumph at the 2017 Euros on home soil and a World Cup final appearance in France last summer. But, Wiegman’s pedigree runs deeper than that.
The first Dutch player to reach 100 caps, at college in North Carolina she played under the man credited with having established the much admired “winning mentality” of the US women’s national team, Anson Dorrance. She has also coached in men’s football, and has an understanding of the Women’s Super League with a number of the Netherlands’ top players plying their trade in England’s professional top flight, including the country’s record goalscorer Vivianne Miedema.
Undoubtedly, if the signing of Wiegman goes through, it would be a big loss for The Netherlands, but a great win for England’s women national team, who will be looking forward to make a revolution and grow as the best team in Europe and in the world. Fans wouldn’t expect less.