The Football Association (FA) are due to announce that Phil Neville will leave his post as manager of the England women’s national team when his contract expires in Summer 2021.
Neville took the role in January 2018, and led the Lionesses to their first ever SheBelieves Cup victory in March 2019, followed by a fourth-place finish at last Summer’s World Cup, losing the semi-final 2-1 to the eventual winners, the United States.
But that semi-final loss in France to the Americans sparked a run of bad form for Neville’s side as the Lionesses lost six games out of a following ten.
Neville’s women also failed to defend their SheBelieves title last month, losing to Spain and the United States, but the former Manchester United and Everton defender still had the backing of the FA.
However, the impact that Covid-19 has had on women’s football, with the Euros now pushed back to 2022, means that Neville, who was set to lead the Lionesses at the Euros that were originally scheduled for next Summer, will not have his contract extended by the FA.
The 43-year-old was meant to be in charge of Team GB at this year’s Olympic Games, but with that now pushed back to 2021, it is unclear if Neville will still be taking that role.
It is believed that the FA wants the same person to manage Team GB at the 2021 Olympics, the Euros in 2022 and the 2023 World Cup.
Therefore, with the rescheduling of major tournaments, the FA now have enough time to appoint a new manager to add some continuity.
Speaking after defeat to Spain last month, Neville appeared to admit some blame for England’s poor performances, but did not seem done with his time as Lionesses’ manager just yet.
Neville said: “I went through five managers in Valencia for better records than I’ve got at this moment in time. David Moyes lost his job at Manchester United with probably a better record than I’ve got so I take responsibility.
“I’ve got 100 per cent confidence in my own abilities as a manager. I know 100 per cent that I’ve got the backing and trust of the players and now is where I think I’ve got to start earning my coin, being a better manager and the results need to improve.”
However, with the FA announcement of Neville’s departure imminent, attention now turns to who could be taking over the reins.
Jill Ellis is one of the first names on the list with the success she has had with the United States, but whether she would make the move across the pond is the big question.
Current Manchester United boss, Casey Stoney, who was a former England Lionesses captain, is also a contender but may be seen as too inexperienced for the role after only two seasons in coaching.
Nick Cushing and Emma Hayes are also names that crop up. Hayes has had great success with Chelsea recently, but is still chasing that elusive Champions League trophy, and former Manchester City manager, Cushing, has just moved to New York City.
Whoever fills the shoes of the Salford City co-owner next Summer though, it has been clear for a few years now that the 2023 World Cup is the tournament that the FA have been working towards in terms of being able to challenge.
That means that the next manager of the England Women’s team should have enough time to reach the required standards set out by the FA in its Gameplan for Growth strategy in 2017.