Phil Neville resigns as England women’s coach

Phil Neville is to leave his role as England women‘s manager next summer. The former Manchester United and Everton defender was appointed in January 2018.

Neville, 43, an ex-England international, led the Lionesses to a first SheBelieves Cup title and a fourth-place finish at the World Cup in 2019.

But since last year’s quarter-final win over Norway, they have lost seven of 11 games and failed to retain their SheBelieves Cup title in March.

Neville had been set to lead Team GB into this summer’s Olympic Games, before taking control of England at the Women’s Euros on home soil in 2021.

But that tournament is moving to July 2022.

What Neville said

On his appointment: “I didn’t get it by default. I didn’t just get handed the keys to women’s football. This is not something that has been plucked from the top of a tree.

“I had to undergo stringent tests and presentations, six- and seven-hour interviews with the Football Association, psychometric profiling – it was a long process. But ultimately I’m the best man for the job and shouldn’t be embarrassed about that.”

One day later when he apologised after old controversial tweets he had posted about women emerged: “My comments were not a true and genuine reflection of either my character or beliefs.

“I am fully aware of my responsibilities as the England women’s head coach and am immensely proud and honoured to have been given the role.”

At his first news conference: “I’m not a sexist. I’ve lived my life right.”

On how big a role it is: “I’m England manager. Any job after this will be a step down.”

After England won the SheBelieves Cup in March 2019: “You don’t get many chances to get your hands on a trophy. It is my first as a manager so I am just going to enjoy it.”

Before the 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup: “I sat in a room with my team just before we played Russia 12 months ago and we were talking about objectives for next year.

“What blew me away was I wanted them to just say: ‘I want to win the World Cup.’ They said: ‘We want bigger than just winning a World Cup. We want, over the next five, 10 years, for the Lionesses to become one of the greatest sports teams in the world, to be talked about like the All Blacks, leave legacies that the young kids of today will always remember.’

“I was like: ‘Wow. They’re thinking bigger than actually I thought they were thinking.’ I had to readjust my objectives because I didn’t think they would think that big.”

After beating Cameroon in an ill-tempered last-16 match at the Women’s World Cup: “That wasn’t a World Cup last-16 tie in terms of behaviour that I want to see from footballers. I am completely and utterly ashamed of the opposition.”

After England lost in the World Cup semi-final to the US in July 2019: “I’ve told them no tears tonight… I’m proud. They have touched the hearts of the nation. I couldn’t ask for more. We had the time of our lives.”

After England drew to Belgium and lost to Norway in friendlies in September 2019: “Thank your lucky stars. I’m here. I’m here to stay. And I’m going to continue to keep improving. I’ve got a long way to go but I think with the set of players we’ve got and with my philosophy, I think we can go a long way. I live and breathe it, and I never have a bad day.”

After losing to USA in the SheBelieves Cup in March 2020: “It’s that ruthlessness that sets the best teams above the rest and we need to develop that. Until we start beating these teams consistently and challenging against them, then it’s still a big obstacle we have got to overcome.”

Before the final match of the SheBelieves Cup in March 2020: There is a real acceptance that we have to improve but they [the FA] know the journey we are going on and ultimately I will know myself if it is not working.”

After losing to Spain and failing to retain She Believes Cup in March 2020: “I’ve got 100% confidence in my own ability. 100%. I know I trust the players and they trust me.

“Ultimately results have to improve and I’ve been in football long enough to say that and I’ve got to make sure over the next two or three weeks we take stock, reset and make the right decisions.”


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