England: Phil Neville leaves Lionesses and joins Inter Miami

Phil Neville has left his role as manager of England's women and been appointed in charge of David Beckham's Major League Soccer side Inter Miami.

The 43-year-old was appointed as England boss in January 2018 and his contract was set to end in July.

The Football Association says it will "shortly confirm" an interim head coach until Sarina Wiegman's arrival.

Netherlands manager Wiegman will take on the role after the delayed Tokyo Olympics in August.

Former Manchester United and Everton defender Neville was the leading contender to manage Great Britain at the Games, but his move to the United States has left the FA needing another option.

"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 of his American move.

Beckham said of his former Manchester United team-mate: "I have known Phil since we were both teenagers at the academy.

"We share a footballing DNA having been trained by some of the best leaders in the game, and it's those values that I have always wanted running through our club."

The MLS side had been managed by former Uruguay striker Diego Alonso before the 45-year-old left by mutual consent earlier this month.

Beckham added: "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."

Neville led the Lionesses to their first SheBelieves Cup title in 2019 and fourth place at the Women's World Cup later the same year, but results since that tournament have been poor.

England's struggles under Neville continued at the 2020 SheBelieves Cup, where a late defeat by Spain in the final match was their seventh loss in 11 games.

The Lionesses have not played since that game last March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"It has been an honour to manage England and I have enjoyed three of the best years of my career," said Neville, who won 19 of his 35 games in charge.

How Neville's stats compare to predecessor Mark Sampson
ManagerPWLWin %Clean sheets
Phil Neville35191154%14
Mark Sampson59381364%32

"The players who wear the England shirt are some of the most talented and dedicated athletes I have ever had the privilege to work with.

"They have challenged me and improved me as a coach, and I am very grateful to them for the fantastic memories we have shared."

Neville, who had no previous experience in the women's game before taking over, has made a "significant contribution" during his three-year spell, said Baroness Campbell, the FA's director of women's football.

"The commitment, dedication and respect he has shown the position has been clear to see," she added.

"I will personally miss our many conversations about ways we can improve and progress."

England are ranked sixth in the world, having been third when Neville succeeded Mark Sampson.

Neville's record against the best sides came under particular scrutiny, with England winning one of their nine games against teams ranked in the top five in the world during his reign.

Neville's record against teams ranked in the world's top five
Opponent (competition - date)Result
France (SheBelieves Cup - March 2018)Won 4-1
Germany (SheBelieves Cup - March 2018)Drew 2-2
USA (SheBelieves Cup - March 2018)Lost 1-0
Sweden (friendly - November 2018)Lost 2-0
USA (SheBelieves Cup - March 2019)Drew 2-2
USA (World Cup - July 2019)Lost 2-1
Sweden (World Cup - July 2019)Lost 2-1
Germany (friendly - November 2019)Lost 2-1
USA (SheBelieves Cup - March 2020)Lost 2-0

"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," added Campbell.

"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."

What happens next with England?

The FA is expected to name England's interim head coach in the next few days.

Among the favourites is former Norway midfielder Hege Riise, one of the greatest players of her generation - a European Championship winner in 1993, a World Cup winner in 1995 and an Olympic gold medallist in 2000.

After retiring as a player, Riise moved into club management in Norway and also coached the country's Under-23 side before spending three years as assistant to then-USA head coach Pia Sundhage from 2009.

She then joined the set-up at Norwegian club LSK Kvinner in 2012 - becoming head coach in 2017 - as they won six successive titles between 2014 and 2019, while also reaching the 2018-19 Champions League quarter-finals.

Riise was one of seven nominees for the Fifa best women's coach award in 2020, won by Wiegman in December.

The new interim manager has no England fixtures booked in the diary, though there has reportedly been discussions over a mini-tournament during the next international window in February.

England will not be taking part in the SheBelieves Cup but could host a tournamentexternal-link which would see three other nations take part in a round-robin event.

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