Phil Neville has left his role as England women manager with immediate effect, confirming that he will not be in charge of the Great Britain squad at the delayed Tokyo Olympics. It is expected he will soon be named head coach of MLS franchise Inter Miami.
It was last April when Neville initially announced his decision to step down as Lionesses boss at the end of his contract that was due to run until the summer of 2021. But he was to remain in charge in the meantime, with replacement Sarina Wiegman seeing out her own contract as Netherlands boss.
Instead, Neville will leave to take up the new position at Inter Miami and the FA will appoint an interim England coach to hold down the fort until Wiegman takes over after the Olympics.
Neville had never previously worked in women’s football, but in 2019 he guided England to victory in the SheBelieves Cup and later the semi-finals of the World Cup. Yet the Lionesses struggled in the wake of the tournament and finished 2019 by sliding out of the top five in the FIFA world rankings for the first time since before the 2015 World Cup.
Neville’s initial announcement about stepping down was influenced by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the international calendar, which resulted in the delay of the next European Championship, due to be held in England, until the summer of 2022.
“It has been an honour to manage England and I have enjoyed three of the best years of my career with The FA and the Lionesses,” Neville said.
“The players who wear the England shirt are some of the most talented and dedicated athletes I have ever had the privilege to work with. They have challenged me and improved me as a coach, and I am very grateful to them for the fantastic memories we have shared.
“I’d like to thank The FA for the tremendous backing they have given me, in particular Sue Campbell and my talented support staff whose energy, commitment and enthusiasm has been crucial to helping us make the progress we have. I wish England Women every success in the future and look forward to following their journey in the years to come.”
FA Director of Women’s Football, Baroness Sue Campbell said: “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.
“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.”