Jayne Ludlow: Why Wales boss spends only 'quarter' of her time with senior team

Jayne Ludlow
Wales manager Jayne Ludlow was awarded an MBE for services to women's football in Wales in the Queen's Birthday Honours

Jayne Ludlow hopes future Wales women's managers will be able to devote more time to the senior team.

Ludlow estimates she can spend only 25% of her time on the senior side because she has to "split priorities" with Wales' women's age-group teams.

"In the future, do I hope that whoever is sitting here answering your questions is solely a national senior team manager? Hell yes," she said.

Wales start Euro 2021 qualifying against Faroe Islands on 29 August.

Ludlow signed a four-year contract extension last August having led Wales to second spot in World Cup qualifying, behind eventual semi-finalists England.

She and her backroom team are guiding under-19 and under-17 teams in major tournaments this autumn as well as the senior side.

Ludlow believes it puts Wales at a disadvantage against other teams in their Euro 2021 qualifying pool, which also includes Norway, Northern Ireland and Belarus.

"The role I have is so big I don't have time to dwell on things," she said.

"Tonight I will go home and watch an under-19s game from last week and prepare the performance squad sessions for this week. That is reality, that is my job.

"I can't categorically say it for the Faroes or Belarus, but the other teams we come up against have a full-time first team manager."

Wales are without record cap holder Jess Fishlock for their first four qualifiers. She is recovering from a knee injury and not expected to return until 2020.

Ludlow included four uncapped players in her squad of 22, including 15-year-old Carrie Jones.

"It would be nice to think we can make a success of this campaign but we are building for the future," she said.

"It might not be what people want to hear, but we are still building. There are lots of areas that we have to grow."

Ludlow conducts training session with school kids
Wales Manager Jayne Ludlow takes a training session with children at Lansdowne Primary School in Cardiff

Qualification clash in September

Ludlow has to prepare Wales for an age-grade tournament at the same time as preparing to travel to the Faroes. Wales also host Northern Ireland at Rodney Parade on Tuesday, 3 September.

"But from an individual perspective and from my staff, I think it would be nice for people to understand the roles that we have," she added.

"In terms of a priority area, it is obviously the senior national team - but it only takes up a quarter of our job.

"We are going into September and we have both an under-17s and under-19s UEFA tournament.

"The under-19s tournament actually runs at the same time as the seniors and we have one group of staff.

"I want to be successful in all parts. But there is a limitation to what individuals can do and we have to split our priorities."

Wales pose before New Zealand friendly
Wales' last international was a 1-0 friendly win over New Zealand in June

'Full time, semi-pro and amateur blend'

Ludlow says it will continue to be tough for Wales to achieve qualification to a major finals while they have part-time players in their ranks.

"Future campaigns will hopefully be campaigns in which the international manager can pick from a fully professional squad," she added.

"We'll have a cohort of fully-pro players in the squad, a cohort of semi-professional and we will have amateurs and we will have to blend that as best we can."

BBC Sport has launched #ChangeTheGame this summer to showcase female athletes in a way they never have been before. Through more live women's sport available to watch across the BBC this summer, complemented by our journalism, we are aiming to turn up the volume on women's sport and alter perceptions. Find out more here.

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