The rumours were confirmed this evening by the Football Association as they announced their decision to name Phil Neville as the new head coach of England.
The former England men's international, Manchester United FC and Everton FC player will now try his hand in not only management, but the women's game for the first time in his career. Neville has already met up with the team at this week’s training camp in La Manga, Spain.
Neville feels 'honoured' to be given the role
The new head coach spoke the official website of the FA, stating that he was "honoured to be given the chance to lead England". Neville mentioned that he would be bringing in a new coaching team and that he felt that they could help the current players "build on their great progress in recent years". Mo Marley, who had been the interim head coach, will now be returning to the development teams and will be taking the U20s to this summer's FIFA Women's U20 World Cup after deciding to not be considered for the senior head coaching position.
Neville continued on to say that he was looking forward to training and working within the St. George's Park set up with people such as Marley, Casey Stoney and Baroness Sue Campbell. He felt that there was a "commitment to excellence" that had been rewarded during recent years and that it could be continued. Neville ended his statements by saying that "there is no greater honour than representing your country" and it would be a "privilege to do it again".
Baroness Campbell, who is the FA director of women's football, also offered her thoughts on the appointment. The Baroness was happy with the appointment of Neville and felt that together, they will "build a brilliant team around him that covers every base". Neville's "enthusiasm, passion and desire for the role" had impressed all at the FA, according to Baroness Campbell, which led them to appointing him in the position. She also reiterated Neville's stance that the team had "come so far in recent times" but the FA felt they needed a "winner with innovative ideas" who also knew the set up at St. George's Park.
Baroness Campbell ended her statements by commending Mo Marley for her time with the senior national team and the staff she worked with.
Neville's career in a snapshot
Up until this point, Neville had never managed a team. He had worked on coaching staffs for both club and country but never had been in the position to lead a team. His time with the women's team will be his first ever managerial post. The former international holds a UEFA Pro Licence and has worked as a first-team coach for Manchester United and Valencia CF. Neville also worked with the England Men's U21s which was where the FA saw what he could do first-hand.
For England, Neville won 59 caps during his playing career and was a regular for Manchester United during most of his time there. After joining Everton, he played 303 times for the Liverpudlians and was named captain of the side. Over the course of his career, Neville won six Premier League titles, three FA Cups and one UEFA Champions League title.
Neville’s first match in charge will be against France in the 2018 SheBelieves Cup hosted by the United States Women's National Team, before games against Germany and the US respectively. The new England manager will have his first home match against Wales in a 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup qualifier at St. Mary’s Stadium, Southampton on Friday, April 6, 2018.
Quotes via TheFA.com