With Phil Neville leaving the post of England manager next year, the question remains as to who should replace him.
The Her Football Hub team has weighed in on who they think should be the next to take the England hotseat.
My suggestion may surprise you. Trust me when I say there’s a reason I would look to current Sunderland Ladies boss Melanie Reay as my recommendation for the top role.
Yes, she maybe managing a team in the third tier of women’s football. However, that’s not really her, or her team’s, fault.
The challenges her Sunderland team have faced in recent years. Double demotion followed by an undefeated season written off as null and void. This team is resolute.
She’s tactically astute too. Whilst Sunderland have blown every other team away in their league. With their flair and onslaught of free-flowing attacking play, her team almost pulled off a massive upset in the FA Cup. After a superb defensive performance, Sunderland fell 1-0 against the WSL’s Birmingham City. She can adapt.
Reay has been heavily involved with the Lionesses set-up already too, lest we forget, as she took charge of the under-23 team for the 2018 Nordic Tournament – so she must surely be on the FA’s radar.
Having been in the company of Melanie more than once, I can assure you she is a winner.
No, not that one. This Colin Bell had a considerably less fortuitous playing career, only managing 40 appearances for Mainz.
After taking on management roles at several lower league German men’s teams he took on the managers role at 1. FFC Frankfurt. He created one of the most successful women’s teams in the Frauen Bundesliga.
Bell led the team to a UEFA Champions League and Deutsch Pokal. Both in his two-year reign of the club before leaving for alternative roles in football.Embed from Getty Images
Bell now finds himself in charge of the South Korea Women’s National team. He is tasked with leading the team to a successful world cup in 2023.
Having recently signed a four year deal there it is unlikely he would leave, but could he be tempted by a return to his homeland?
The ideal man to keep the seat warm for future England managers elect Casey Stoney and Emma Hayes. To many it would be an underwhelming appointment, but for the FA, it would be a shrewd move.
One strong candidate for the England job would be Chelsea manager Emma Hayes.
Hayes is highly respected amongst players and fans alike. She is well-known for being a talented and experienced coach and manager.
Speaking to Her Football Hub in March, Hayes said: “Behind every great boss is a great team and I’ve got unbelievable people behind me that make me look fantastic”.Embed from Getty Images
She has proven to lead her team well and has a strong presence both on and off the pitch.
With some of the England squad’s players also playing for Chelsea, Hayes already has good professional relationships with many of the players such as Beth England, Millie Bright and Carly Telford.
A woman with fantastic leadership skills and experience is the perfect person to lead the new lionesses squad. Emma Hayes is that woman. The only question is; would she want the job?
The current manager of North Carolina Courage, Paul Riley led his team to the NWSL Championship finals in the last three seasons, winning the last two. He has earned himself NWSL Coach of the Year award twice.
Riley also won the NWSL Championship under the Courage’s previous guise as the Western New York Flash back in 2016. The Liverpool-born manager had previously interviewed for the vacant England job back in 2013 following the departure of Hope Powell.Embed from Getty Images
Riley was turned down for the role because he did not have the requisite coaching license and the position ultimately went to Mark Sampson. However, that won’t be an issue this time around and Riley’s reputation has only been enhanced since then.
One thing that could be an obstacle is Riley signed a new multi-year contract with the Courage back in January 2019.
If I were Dame Sue Campbell at this very moment, I’d be on the phone to Hope Powell begging for her return.
Some stability back in the England camp is exactly what the Doctor ordered. Not only is Powell known to everyone in the women’s game, she knows them too.Embed from Getty Images
During her tenure with the Lionesses she not only managed the first team but oversaw the entire structure from U-15’s to U-23’s.
Hope is an absolute beacon of feminist power, something the England camp models itself on. She was the first ever woman to hold the UEFA Pro licence and is the embodiment of a leader. Sign her up.
If the FA were to decide that promoting someone within the existing setup is best, then current assistant manager Bev Priestman would be the woman for the job.
The Durham born coach has been a key part to the England backroom since being appointed in August 2018 and was the bookies’ early favourite to take over as manager.
Priestman has worked at Everton and the FA before moving to join the New Zealand FA where she became head of football development by 2011.
Most notably, she moved to Canada Soccer where she assisted in leading their national team to Bronze at the 2016 Olympics.
Priestman’s experience of other national teams as well as England’s setup, puts her in good stead to succeed Phil Neville.
My pick for the next England women’s manager would be Casey Stoney. Manchester United have shown this season that they could carry their championship title winning mentality into the WSL, with Casey being at the forefront of that.
Stoney’s grit and determination really shines through in her team. I think that the England team could really relish it, as under Neville the current team has somewhat lacked that passion. Her record also speaks for itself winning a whopping 72% of games as boss.
A progressive manager like Stoney could only be a move in the right direction for the Lionesses. Especially after a stagnant 12 months for the team.
– Tom King