It has finally happened: Phil Neville has stepped down as England women’s manager; and, surprisingly, he might reuniting with an old friend very soon.
Neville’s three-year spell leading the Lionesses has officially come to an end, with Netherlands head coach Sarina Wiegman set to replace him following the Olympic Games in August.
England are set to bring in a caretaker boss to see them through the next few months, having been in talks with potential candidates for the role since Rehanne Skinner left her post as Neville’s assistant to join Tottenham in November.
Neville, who led the Lionesses to the 2019 World Cup semi-finals in France, is expected to take over in the dugout at David Beckham-owned MLS franchise Inter Miami in the coming days, with the former Manchester United star set to link up with his old team-mate in the United States.
England will now start planning for a new era without the 43-year-old, but FA Director of Women’s Football, Baroness Sue Campbell, says he leaves behind a strong legacy after helping to raise the profile of the women’s game.
“I want to pay tribute to Phil for his significant contribution during his three years with the FA. In particular, the commitment, dedication and respect he has shown the position has been clear to see, and I will personally miss our many conversations about ways we can improve and progress,” Campbell said in an official statement.
“After steadying the ship at a challenging period, he helped us to win the SheBelieves Cup for the first time, reach the World Cup semi-finals and qualify for the Olympics. Given his status as a former Manchester United and England player, he did much to raise the profile of our team.
“He has used his platform to champion the women’s game, worked tirelessly to support our effort to promote more female coaches and used his expertise to develop many of our younger players.
“Given the positive ongoing dialogue we have been having with Phil, we will be in a position to provide an update soon on an interim appointment, as well as provide a further update on the coaching situation regarding Team GB.”
Finally, FA chief executive Mark Bullingham added:
“Phil can be proud of what he has achieved as England head coach and I am sure he will continue to progress in future. I wish him well and thank him for the hard work he put into helping our players and support team be the best they can be.
“Although he is moving on, I know Phil will remain a champion for women’s football and a supporter of all we are trying to do to grow the game even further.”