Neville leaves England women to take up Inter Miami head coach role


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - England - Phil Neville Press Conference - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - February 18, 2020 Phil Neville during the press conference Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra

LONDON (Reuters) - Phil Neville stepped down as England women's team manager on Monday and the former Manchester United and England defender was named the head coach of David Beckham's Major League Soccer (MLS) side Inter Miami.

Neville, 43, had been in talks with the MLS men's side, who have a vacancy since sacking manager Diego Alonso this month.

"This is a very young club with a lot of promise and upside, and I am committed to challenging myself, my players and everyone around me to grow and build a competitive soccer culture we can all be proud of," Neville said in a statement https://www.intermiamicf.com/en/post/2021/01/18/inter-miami-cf-names-phil-neville-head-coach.

"This fantastic soccer-loving market deserves consistent performances and a winning mentality, and I look forward to getting to work."

Beckham said Neville's work ethic and "incredible energy" made him the perfect candidate for the job.

"Anyone who has played or worked with Phil knows he is a natural leader, and I believe now is the right time for him to join," Beckham, his former team mate, said.

INTERIM HEAD COACH

England's FA said in a statement it would shortly appoint an interim head coach to lead the Lionesses until Sarina Wiegman, currently manager of the Netherlands women's team, assumes the role full-time after the delayed Tokyo Olympics end in August.

Wiegman was appointed last August to lead England at the European championship in 2022 and through qualification for the 2023 World Cup.

Neville, who had been due to lead the Team GB women's soccer side at the Tokyo Games, had announced last April that he would be moving on after the Olympics due to the women's European tournament being postponed from 2021 by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FA said a recruitment process had already been underway after the departure of England assistant coach Rehanne Skinner to Tottenham Hotspur's women's team last November.

"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," said director of women's football Sue Campbell of Neville's legacy.

"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."

Neville said he had enjoyed "three of the best years of my career".

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, additional reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Christian Radnedge)

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