Phil Neville has said he wants to lead Team GB at the Olympics and expects the Football Association to make a decision “pretty quickly” on who will take the team to Tokyo next summer.
“I want to. That was an ambition that I had. I had the World Cup, I had the Euros and I had the Olympics, that was my three-year cycle,” said Neville. “Unfortunately because of the pandemic I don’t have the Euros, so the Olympics is still a massive ambition of mine. The FA know that, and they have been brilliant in their communications with me in terms of the timeframe.”
Following Neville’s decision to end his tenure after three years in charge, the FA received 142 applications in the summer as they began the search for his replacement. The Netherlands head coach, Sarina Wiegman, was appointed after the pool was narrowed down to two candidates: Wiegman and fellow World Cup final manager Jill Ellis, who stepped down from her job as head coach of the US following her second World Cup win. However, Wiegman will not take up her post until next summer. Instead she will see out her contract with the Netherlands leading them into their first Olympic Games.
“I think [the decision] will be made pretty quickly,” said Neville, when asked when we will know who is going to take charge of Team GB. “I think everybody is on the same page. The players will want to know which manager to impress for their Olympic selection and ultimately the Olympic selection process probably starts today.
“The FA are in control of it. There’s no panic, we’re in control of the situation. They will announce the new manager sooner rather than later.”
With no competitive fixtures until next summer’s rescheduled Olympic Games, England’s September training camp saw two Lionesses teams face off at St George’s Park on Friday, with two goals from Manchester City striker Ellen White and a header from Manchester United midfielder Ella Toone ensuring the team in white led by White were victorious.
England have three wins in 10 games since their World Cup semi-final exit to the United States last year. On the eve of lockdown in March two humiliating SheBelieves Cup defeats sandwiching a scrappy win against Japan forced Neville to reflect on his time in charge and decide against pushing for a contract extension.
“I was a little bit angry and frustrated with the results,” he said. “Ultimately the buck stops with me. With no football and the pandemic it was a great period of reflection.
“I’m young and I’ve got lots of energy and I thought that I wanted to see the journey through. I’m just glad that I can do that now.”