Casey Stoney: Manchester United boss to leave WSL side at end of season

Casey Stoney
Casey Stoney led Manchester United to a fourth-placed finish in the Women's Super League this season

Manchester United head coach Casey Stoney is to leave the Women's Super League club at the end of the season.

The former England defender, 38, was appointed as the club's first manager in July 2018 and led them to the WSL in 2018-19.

United finished fourth this season, missing out on a place in the Champions League by one point.

Stoney's final game in charge of the club will be Sunday's FA Cup fifth-round tie against Leicester City.

She told the club websiteexternal-link that she felt now was the right time to "take some time away".

"It has been an honour to lead the women's team at this great club and this has been an incredibly tough decision," Stoney said.

"Having come on board to start the team from scratch, then winning the Women's Championship in our first season, we have now successfully established the team as a force in the Women's Super League.

"I have loved leading this group and I am proud of what we have achieved together."

United were fourth in their first season in the WSL last year before the campaign was ended early - in March 2020 - because of the coronavirus pandemic.

They started this season in excellent form and led the table in January with nine wins from their opening 12 games but a run of just five wins from their final 10 matches saw them miss out on a place in the top three.

United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said Stoney, who won 130 caps for the Lionesses as a player, would "always be part of the Manchester United family".

Analysis - Stoney 'shown huge potential as a coach'

Emma Sanders, BBC Sport reporter

There have been growing concerns over resources and facilities for Manchester United's women's team in recent months, with Stoney showing glimpses of frustration over pitch conditions in training.

The team have suffered numerous injuries throughout the season which ultimately impacted their ability to qualify for the Champions League and they have moved between Leigh Sports Village, the Cliff and Carrington for training during the pandemic.

Question marks over player contract extensions and the futures of United States duo Tobin Heath and Christen Press also cast doubts on the club's commitment to invest.

Stoney herself has been linked with the vacant Arsenal job in the WSL but there has been talk of her taking up a job in the United States, which she is expected to start in the summer.

Her pedigree as a player speaks for itself - she captained England and Team GB, as well as winning 12 major trophies at club level - but she has shown huge potential as a coach too in her three-year reign at Manchester United.

And while she exits to pursue her own career, she leaves behind a fairly sound foundation for somebody coming into the club.

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