FA wants Wiegman to turn England into tournament winners
Negotiations begin to land successful Dutch manager Coach promotes attacking football and tactical flexibility
Sarina Wiegman, the Holland Women manager, has emerged as the Football Association’s preferred choice to succeed Phil Neville as England head coach, The Daily Telegraph understands.
The FA is in negotiations with the former Holland midfielder who, in 2001, became the first Dutch footballer to reach 100 caps. She oversaw her country’s 2017 European Championship-winning team, as well as the side who lost to the United States in the World Cup final last summer. She has a contract with the Dutch FA until 2021.
A key negotiating point is thought to be whether Wiegman, 50, will be appointed before the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and manage the Great Britain team.
The Telegraph revealed on Monday that, of the final two candidates – the other thought to be two-time World Cup-winning former US coach Jill Ellis – one wanted to lead the Team GB side in Japan, while the other did not.
Neville – who announced in April his intention to step down from the post following the expiry of his contract – is contracted until July 2021 and has been involved in the search for his successor. There is still a possibility he could take charge of Team GB: as the performance lead for football, the English FA nominates the Team GB coach but this does not have to be the England manager.
The FA, however, is unTottenham derstood to be aware that Neville may have moved into another job in football by then.
The governing body revealed last month that in excess of 140 people had applied for the job.
After she was appointed permanent head coach of Holland in January 2017, months before the country was due to host the Women’s Euros, Wiegman was credited with restoring the morale of a team who had been losing repeatedly and who failed to qualify for the Rio Olympics.
She had been assistant to Arjan van der Laan, who was sacked in December 2016, and following his departure, Wiegman spearheaded a switch to a more attacking brand of football.
Euro 2017 marked Holland’s first major women’s honour in an international tournament.
Their brightest attacking talents – including Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema, Barcelona’s Lieke Martens and Manchester United’s Jackie Groenen – are now among the country’s most recognisable athletes, blossoming in a stylish side who have benefited from their manager’s tactical flexibility. They have proved the perfect blend of flair and pragmatism, swift on the counter-attack and quick in transition.
By 2014, she had become the assistant manager at the national team, studying for her Uefa Pro License in the aftermath of their exit from the 2015 World Cup. Since then, Holland have risen to fourth in the Fifa rankings – with a high of third.
After the 2019 World Cup near-miss, the Dutch FA announced plans to erect a sculpture of Wiegman in its garden of fame to mark her success.
Winning pedigree: Sarina Wiegman has emerged as the FA’s preferred candidate to replace Phil Neville as England Women manager