Sarina Wiegman: Can England take the next step under her leadership?

A Look at the New Boss and Her Visions for the Future

sarina-wiegman
Sarina Wiegman is unveiled as new Senior Head Coach Of The England Women's Team at Wembley Stadium on September 09, 2021 (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

It has been a rocky road for England’s national side over the last couple of years. Since losing the World Cup semi-final to the USA, England’s form dropped, and they became a shadow of the team that came so close to the France 2019 final showpiece.

The Lionesses lost seven of their subsequent eleven matches. Plus, their failure to defend their SheBelieves Cup title in March 2020 was the beginning of the end for former manager Phil Neville.

Just a month after their disastrous campaign, Neville made the decision to step down as England boss when his contract expired in July 2021. As it turned out, the appeal of managing David Beckham’s Inter Miami was too strong to resist, and Neville stepped aside five months earlier than planned.

His replacement, Dutch manager Sarina Wiegman, agreed a four-year deal in August 2020 to take over from Neville, but wouldn’t be starting the role until September 2021. With Neville gone, Norwegian coach Hege Riise was named caretaker manager in the interim.

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Riise would also take charge of the Great Britain Olympic side, and she made the brutal but necessary decision to leave Beth Mead out of the squad. It was a decision that has seen the Arsenal star up her game and win her place back in the national side.

Team GB were eliminated at the quarter-final stage by Australia, and the focus immediately turned to Wiegman and the national side’s World Cup 2023 qualification, and their quest for glory at next summer’s Euros.

Wiegman is a Winner

The Netherlands are the current holders of the Euros, having won the competition in 2017 under Wiegman’s guidance. She took the Dutch to third in the world rankings, and was named FIFA Coach of the Year 2017.

In 2019, her Dutch team finished as runners up in the World Cup, losing out to champions USA.

As a club manager, she has won the Dutch Championship and KNVB Cup with Ter Leede, and with ADO Den Hag, she won the Eredivisie and KNVB Cup in 2012, successfully defending the cup a year later.

It is clear Sarina Wiegman has the winning mentality England need.

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Sarina Wiegman and her Vision for England

After losing friendlies to France and Canada under Riise, Wiegman will be looking to instil the winning mentality into the minds of the England players.

Speaking to the media following her appointment, Wiegman outlined her vision for England.

“First of all, I think of growth. If we become better, then the chance of winning is greater. Yes, we want results, but what makes results is training well, working as a team, the staff working well, a very clear vision of how we want to play, knowing what every player needs to do in their tasks. Defensively, offensively, in transition – expecting behaviours on the pitch and off it, know who we want to be.

“All of those things bring us together and give us a clear plan of where we want to go, and most importantly how we want to get there.”

Can England Take That Next Step?

Wiegman has overseen two England matches – which were World Cup Qualifiers. Her side beat North Macedonia 8-0 at home and Luxembourg 10-0 away. While these two teams won’t be setting the football world on fire any time soon, they were important victories that will inspire confidence in the team.

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However, it will be big game matches that will define Wiegman’s tenure. With the 2022 Euros on home soil, it’s a glorious chance for England to show how much they have developed under Wiegman. Success next summer will give the Lionesses the boost they need for the 2023 World Cup.

Wiegman’s winning mentality may just be the key to fully unlocking the potential of the current England squad. She has knowledge and experience of performing on the big stage. The opportunity is there and the next step is waiting.

It’s now up to England to take it.

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