Jill Scott Defends Phil Neville's England Achievements & States He Had a 'Big Impact' on Lionesses

Phil Neville
England Lionesses' Manager Phil Neville | Andrew Redington/Getty Images

England international Jill Scott has defended Phil Neville's achievements as manager, saying he can leave the Lionesses job 'with his head held high'.

Neville took over in January 2018 and was successful early on in his tenure. Under his watch, England won the 2019 SheBelieves Cup, and also made the semi-finals of the World Cup during that same year.

Yet since that World Cup run, the Lionesses have endured a miserable run of form - losing seven times in their 11 games played since the tournament.

Phil Neville
The Lionesses haven't been in good form of late under Neville's management | Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

As a result, despite the Euros being pushed back a year to 2022, the former Everton defender recently announced he would depart in 2021, when his current contract runs out.

But Scott, when asked by the Telegraph for an assessment of the 43-year-old, has defended Neville by calling him 'one of the best managers' that she had ever played for.

“So much has gone on since the SheBelieves Cup in March. But in terms of Phil, his contract always expired next summer, and he’s decided not to extend it for whatever reason," Scott said.

“But we can be grateful for the time he has had with England. Reaching a World Cup semi-final is not an easy thing to do. We won the SheBelieves Cup last year and a lot of people will be sad to see him go, but he can leave with his head held high.

“You can’t expect a manager to come in and win a World Cup. That was the aim, but it’s not easy at the elite level and we just fell short. England haven’t won a tournament since 1966 and haven’t been the best team in the world for decades.

"Phil had a big impact - okay, we had played in semi-finals before but for me, he is one of the best managers I’ve played for. He was great for me.”

FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019"Women: England v United States of America"
FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019"Women: England v United States of America" | VI-Images/Getty Images

As for who the 33-year-old would like as his replacement, she mentioned two candidates thought to be in the running - former USA manager Jill Ellis and the current Man Utd boss Casey Stoney.

"We don’t know who will replace Phil and it’s not my decision to make. Jill Ellis, you can’t look past her success. Two World Cup wins, I don’t think you can have a better CV than that, to be honest," Scott added.

“I’ve had conversations with her in the past, she’s always been dead nice and supportive and what I like about her is she gets the team prepared and, on game day, she sits back, knows she has done her work and that it is up to the players. I like that.

Jill Ellis
Jill Ellis is thought to be in the running for the soon-to-be vacant England job | Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

“There are other names out there. Casey Stoney has been mentioned and you look at her experience of playing for England and obviously she has done a really good job as manager at Manchester United as well.

“It’s like anything, whoever comes in from a player perspective, it’s up to us to prove we deserve a place in the squad. I intend to do that, whoever it is.”