International

Wiegman to succeed Neville as England women’s boss

Sarina Wiegman

Netherlands women’s manager Sarina Wiegman will succeed Phil Neville as England’s head coach in September 2021.

The former Netherlands midfielder has signed a four-year deal, with Neville set to leave the role next summer.

Wiegman, 50, will take charge after overseeing the Netherlands at the postponed Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

“Sarina was our number one choice,” said Baroness Campbell, the Football Association’s director of women’s football.

The FA said a decision on who will take charge of Great Britain at the Olympics in Japan will be announced “in due course”.

Neville is under contract until July 2021, with the Games due to run from 23 July to 8 August.

“England is the cradle of football and I’m very much looking forward to contributing my experience and expertise to this ambitious team,” said Wiegman.

Wiegman’s first major tournament in charge of the Lionesses will be the Women’s Euro 2021, which has been postponed until July 2022 because of the coronavirus pandemic, on home soil.

Meet the new boss

Sarina Wiegman

Wiegman made 104 appearances and was captain of the Netherlands in her playing career.

She joined ADO Den Haag Women as manager in 2007 and first joined the national team coaching set-up as assistant in 2014.

She was named head coach in January 2017 and led her side to glory at Euro 2017, including beating Mark Sampson’s England side in the semi-finals. They lost the 2019 World Cup final to the United States.

Under Wiegman, the Netherlands reached third in the world rankings, and she was named Fifa coach of the year in 2017.

“The ride with the Oranje Lionesses has been amazing so far, but we haven’t reached our final destination yet,” she added.

“I am extremely excited by the prospect of leading England women in the future.

“For now, I am 100% focused on Oranje. I will do my utmost to add another chapter to their remarkable journey before making my next step.”

The FA previously said it had received 142 applicants for the job. England-born former USA manager Jill Ellis, who has won the past two World Cups, had been among the favourites.

‘A proven winner’ – what they said

Mark Bullingham, FA’s chief executive: “Sarina was the outstanding candidate from a very strong field.

“She is a proven winner and we are confident she can take England to the next level, giving us the best possible opportunity of achieving our ambition to win a major tournament.”

Baroness Campbell: “It speaks volumes for the progress of England women over recent years and the bold ambitions we have for the future that we had so many world-class candidates apply for the role.

“Sarina is the perfect cultural fit for us, which is crucially important in building a winning team.

“Her technical expertise, leadership skills and winning mentality is hugely impressive.”

What about the Olympics?

The delayed Tokyo Games are due to take place from 23 July to 8 August.

With Neville’s deal lasting into July, he could take charge of Team GB, with Wiegman remaining with the Netherlands.

Wiegman is under contract with the Dutch FA until 2021.

The FA says it will renew their dialogue with the home nations over the Games.

Under Neville, England won a first SheBelieves Cup and finished fourth at the 2019 World Cup.

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

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