Phil Neville to leave role as England head coach when contract expires in 2021

Phil Neville, England
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The former Man United defender will not stay on beyond his current deal, which expires just before he would take Team GB to the rescheduled Olympics

Phil Neville will leave his role as England head coach in July 2021, it has been confirmed.

The former Manchester United defender will not extend his contract with the Football Association, which was signed in January 2018 when he succeeded Mark Sampson as the Lionesses' boss.

Neville's deal was supposed to run until the end of the 2021 UEFA Women's Euros, which England will host. However, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has seen that tournament pushed back a further year, with the men's Euros to take place in 2021.

It was announced on Thursday that the women's Euros will now be played between July 6 and July 31, 2022. The FA, though, will not be extending Neville's contract to cover those new dates.

The 43-year-old was also meant to take a Team GB side to the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer, until that was also pushed back 12 months. A new coach will now need to be sought to take up that job as well, either separate from or alongside the England job, with the Games little over a year away.

“In light of the impact of current global events on the sporting calendar and in the best interests of the England Women’s team, both parties were in agreement that our shared priority was to ensure the Lionesses have continuity of coaching going into the home EURO and looking towards the 2023 FIFA World Cup," Sue Campbell, the FA's director of women's football, said.

“Once football returns after this difficult period, Phil will continue his work with the Lionesses on the further development of his squad. I will support him fully with that important task whilst moving forward with the crucial succession planning process. 

“We will now discuss next steps with the British Olympic Association and the home nations with regard to Team GB Football and we are not in a position to make any further comment at this time.” 

Neville will leave the role having guided England to a fourth-placed finish in the 2019 Women's World Cup, with his team going toe-to-toe with the United States in the semi-finals. The USA would go on to defend their title as world champions by beating the Netherlands 2-0 in the final.

However, the Lionesses have seen their performances decline since that tournament. They have lost seven of their last 11 games, with two of those defeats coming in an underwhelming 2020 SheBelieves Cup campaign in March, which they actually went into as defending champions.

Neville has had the backing of the FA despite a poor run and has previously stated that he would walk away from the job when he felt he was no longer the right person to lead the team.

The impact of Covid-19 now means that England and Team GB have a tournament on their calendars every summer for the next three years; the Olympic Games in 2021, the Euros in 2022 and the World Cup in 2023.

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By parting ways with Neville now, rather than extending his contract a further year to include the Euros, the FA avoid the uncertainty of potentially letting him go one year before the biggest major tournament of all, the World Cup.

“As a result of the changes to the proposed tournament scheduling we will now be working to plan for a revised match calendar once it is safe and appropriate to do so," Neville added.

"I am looking forward to getting back to work with the team as soon as possible. We have a fantastic squad of players and there is plenty to work on as we look to progress as a team going into 2021.”

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