FanVoice

Phil Neville taking the Inter Miami job could be a positive for Team GB

Jan 7, 2021, 11:45 AM GMT
Phil Neville
Phil Neville is reportedly in talks with Inter Miami | Andrew Redington/Getty Images
facebooktwitterreddit

England Women's boss Phil Neville has been approached regarding the managerial position at Inter Miami - the club owned by his former Manchester United teammate and fellow Class of 92 member David Beckham.

Should Neville take up the role at the MLS outfit, this would likely result in him no longer taking charge of Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics this summer.

The former Manchester United man had been poised to lead Team GB at the 2020 Olympics and England at Euro 2021 the following summer, but these plans were pushed back a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Phil Neville
Neville is a popular figure among the England squad | Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Neville has since announced that he will be stepping down as Lionesses boss at the end of his contract in 2021, but had maintained that he was still eager to lead Team GB in Tokyo.

The FA were expected to announce the 43-year-old as the Team GB coach in January, however the Press Association have reported (via BBC Sport) that preliminary talks have take place between Miami and Neville - throwing a spanner in the works regarding plans for the Olympics.

The absence of Neville could turn out to be a positive for Team GB. He has enjoyed mixed success in charge of the Lionesses, guiding them to SheBelieves Cup success and the World Cup semi finals in 2019, before a down turn in results and performances ensued post France.

Neville has made the England hot seat a much more appealing job during his tenure, and for that he deserves a great deal of credit. He was effectively handed the position by proxy, so undesirable was the role given the handling of Mark Sampson's dismissal.

Fast forward two and a half years and England have been able to attract one of the finest coaches in the women's game in Sarina Wiegman, persuading her to depart her hugely talented Netherlands side. Such a statement appointment would have been unimaginable in 2018.

Neville had England playing their best football of his tenure at the World Cup - when he was afforded weeks with his side as opposed to short, sharp, intense camps. He will likely favour the regular day to day contact of club management that Inter Miami would offer over the sporadic nature of international football, largely because for parts of his tenure, particularly post World Cup, England did not look like a team.

Play was disjointed, incoherent, even frustrating at times, and the squad largely failed to get to grips with his playing out from the back principles. At the 2020 SheBelieves Cup, England scored just one goal in three games.

Olympics Day -2 - Women's Football - Great Britain v New Zealand
The Team GB squad at London 2012 featured just two Scottish players - this would likely be a different story in Tokyo | Julian Finney/Getty Images

The role of Team GB coach may therefore not be a role best suited to Neville given that he would have a very brief time to work with his new side, and it would involve knitting a squad together of players from England, Wales, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. If he struggled when given a lack of contact time with the Lionesses, then Team GB would be another world of problems.

Picking a squad of 18 from just English players is an unenviable task in itself, but throw in the likes of Kim Little, Caroline Weir, Erin Cuthbert, Lisa Evans, Sophie Ingle and Jess Fishlock and it's absolute carnage. The Team GB coach is going to have a matter of weeks to transform this melting pot of British talent who have never played together into a cohesive team.

At times, Neville's England have not looked like can play together - how would a home nations mishmash squad fare?

facebooktwitterreddit