Women's Football

Candidates to replace Phil Neville as Team GB manager

Jan 7, 2021, 3:00 PM GMT
Phil Neville
Neville may no longer manage Team GB at the Olympics in Tokyo | Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Phil Neville had been expected to lead Team GB's women's football team at the Tokyo Olympics, but he has since been linked with the managerial vacancy at Inter Miami, putting the Team GB job in jeopardy.

Neville's England contract expires in July 2021, Serena Wiegman takes up the managerial post in September following the Netherlands' Olympic campaign, and the Olympics run from July to August, begging the question: just who will lead Team GB in Tokyo?

It's a very short-term job, that consists of picking a squad of 18 from a giant melting pot of English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish talent, attempting to build them into a cohesive team and then leading them at the biggest sporting event in the world, playing a maximum of six competitive games.

So, who's up for it?

1. Shelley Kerr

Kerr stepped down as Scotland boss in December | FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

The former Scotland boss is currently out of a job after stepping down from the national team in December 2020 following her side's failure to qualify for the European Championships.

Kerr guided Scotland's women's side to their first ever World Cup in 2019, and led Arsenal to FA Cup success in 2013 and 2014.

With such a plethora of Scottish talent in contention for selection - including Caroline Weir, Erin Cuthbert, Kim Little, Lisa Evans and Claire Emslie - Kerr's experience working with these players for the last two and a half years could be valuable given the short amount of time the Team GB coach will be afforded with their squad.

2. Jayne Ludlow

Jayne Ludlow
The Welsh FA would likely not be on board with Ludlow taking charge of Team GB | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

With both England and Scotland currently set to be without a manager going into July 2021, Wales are one of the few home nations who should have someone installed during the Olympics - Arsenal's all-time top scorer Jayne Ludlow.

Ludlow has been in the Wales hot seat for over six years, taking the job after a brief stint with Reading, and like Kerr would have the benefit of having previously worked with a number of Team GB players. Sophie Ingle, Jess Fishlock and Hayley Ladd are three of a number of Welsh players in with a shout of making the plane to Tokyo.

However, although the Welsh FA have said that they will not prohibit their players from representing for Team GB, they do not support the concept of a British football team. It would therefore take a hell of a lot of persuading for them to allow their manager to take the reins.

3. Matt Beard

Matt Beard
Beard led West Ham to the 2019 FA Cup final | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Two-time WSL winning coach Matt Beard is currently out of a job after stepping down as West Ham manager in November.

Beard led Liverpool to back-to-back league triumphs in 2013 and 2014, and following a short spell at Boston Breakers, took charge of West Ham ahead of their debut season in the WSL.

The 42-year-old managed a number of players in contention for Team GB selection during his time at Liverpool, including Lucy Bronze, Lucy Staniforth and Katie Zelem, and his vast experience in the women's game would be a big plus for Team GB.

4. Jill Ellis

Jill Ellis
Ellis is a two-time World Cup winning coach | Maja Hitij/Getty Images

Double World Cup winning coach Jill Ellis was one of the FA's final two candidates for the England job, before they instead plumped for Sarina Wiegman. Would she be up for taking the short-term GB job after that snub?

Ellis is the British born coach who led the USA to World Cup glory in 2015 and 2019, and has been out of a job since their triumph in France. She is a proven winner.

However, despite her success with the USWNT, she was not always a popular figure among the players and has been publicly criticised by Sydney Leroux, Ali Krieger and Megan Rapinoe. The short-term Team GB job would be vastly different to the lengthy camps Ellis is accustomed to from her time with the USWNT, and her side's last Olympics ended with an unceremonious quarter final exit at the hands of Sweden.

5. David Parker

Manchester City Women v Birmingham City Ladies - Continental Cup Final
Parker led Birmingham during a purple patch in their history | Clint Hughes/Getty Images

David Parker worked wonders at Birmingham City, establishing the side as a regular top three WSL outfit and guiding them to a famous FA Cup triumph in 2012.

He resigned in 2016, bringing an end to his five-year tenure as first team manager and seven-year association with the club.

Parker has not had a job in management since, but as of November 2019 he was working as a USA college scout in Southern California. With a wealth of experience in the women's game and a proud managerial record, he'd be an excellent - although admittedly left field - appointment.