Hunt for Neville’s replacement is down to final two
The Football Association is down to its final two candidates in its hunt for Phil Neville’s successor as England Women head coach, The Daily
Telegraph understands. An announcement could be made as early as next week, with the governing body in the final stages of a recruitment process that drew more than 140 applications.
Jill Ellis, who coached the United States to World Cup glory in 2015 and 2019, is among the favourites for the role.
Since stepping down in October 2019, she has worked for US Soccer as the federation’s development director, overseeing youth development for the national team.
It is understood that former Manchester City head coach Nick Cushing, recently appointed assistant at MLS side New York City, did not apply for the position. Manchester United manager Casey Stoney appeared to rule herself out at the weekend when she told Sky Sports that she saw herself remaining at the club for the next five to 10 years.
Emma Hayes, manager of Women’s Super League champions Chelsea, also appeared to distance herself from the role in April when she said: “It’s an honour to be linked with the national team – as an older person, I’m probably more considered for entering into international football at some point in my life – but right now, I’m extremely happy at Chelsea.”
Neville, 43, said that same month that he planned to leave England when his contract expired in July 2021. His older brother, Gary, said at the time that the “rug’s been pulled under [Phil’s] feet” after the Olympics and European Championship were moved to 2021 and 2022 respectively due to Covid-19.
Neville had previously been in line to manage at both tournaments, with the Euros – which will be hosted by England – opening at Old Trafford.
As the lead home nation for football, the English FA will make the final call on who will manage the Team GB composite side at the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics, but this is not automatically the England manager.
It is understood that the governing body has not yet made a decision because one of the two England candidates would like to lead the Olympic team and the other would not. If the latter is appointed, Neville would be the obvious choice – but the FA knows he could be unavailable if he has, for instance, found another job in football by then.
Neville said in May that he had always had ambitions to move into club football once his time with England had ended, but he has been consulted in the search for his replacement.
Neville has offered to share his knowledge with his replacement to help with the handover period.
Strong candidate: Jill Ellis, who coached the United States to World Cup glory in 2015 and 2019, is a favourite for England role