Phil Neville was expected to lead Team GB’s women’s football team at the Tokyo Olympics, but he has since been linked with the leadership vacancy at Inter Miami, putting the GB team post.
Neville’s contract in England expires in July 2021, Serena Wiegman takes the leadership position in September after the Netherlands’ Olympic campaign and the Olympics run from July to August, raising the question of who will lead the GB team in Tokyo?
It’s a very short-term job, which involves picking a team of 18 out of a giant melting pot of English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish talent, trying to fit them into a tight-knit team, then leading them at the world’s largest sporting event, playing a maximum of six competitive matches.
So who’s up for it?
The former Scottish boss is currently unemployed after leaving the national team in December 2020 following her team’s failure to qualify for the European Championships.
Kerr guided the Scottish women’s team to their very first World Cup in 2019 and led Arsenal to FA Cup success in 2013 and 2014.
With such a plethora of Scottish talent vying for the selection – including Caroline Weir, Erin Cuthbert, Kim Little, Lisa Evans and Claire Emslie – Kerr’s experience working with these players over the past two and a half years could be valuable given the limited time given to the coach of the GB team with his team.
With England and Scotland currently on the verge of going without a coach in July 2021, Wales are one of the few home countries to have someone settled during the Olympics – the top scorer in all-time Arsenal, Jayne Ludlow.
Ludlow has been in the hot seat for Wales for over six years, taking the job after a brief stint with Reading, and like Kerr would have the advantage of having worked with a number of GB squad players before. Sophie Ingle, Jess Fishlock and Hayley Ladd are three of the many Welsh players who have been screaming to fly to Tokyo.
However, although the Welsh FA has said it will not ban its players from representing for the GB team, they do not support the concept of a British football team. They would therefore need a lot of persuasion to allow their manager to take the reins.
Two-time WSL-winning coach Matt Beard is currently out of a job after resigning as manager of West Ham in November.
Beard led Liverpool to back-to-back league triumphs in 2013 and 2014, and after a short spell at Boston Breakers, took charge of West Ham ahead of his debut season in the WSL.
The 42-year-old has managed a number of players vying for the selection of the GB squad during his time at Liverpool, including Lucy Bronze, Lucy Staniforth and Katie Zelem, and her vast experience in women’s football would be a big one. more for the GB team.
Two-time World Cup-winning coach Jill Ellis was one of the FA’s last two candidates for the England post, before turning to Sarina Wiegman. Would she be ready to accept GB’s short-term job after this snub?
Ellis is the British-born coach who led the United States to World Cup glory in 2015 and 2019, and has been out of work since their triumph in France. She is a proven winner.
However, despite her success with the USWNT, she has not always been a popular figure among the players and has been publicly criticized by Sydney Leroux, Ali Krieger and Megan Rapinoe. Short-term work in the GB team would be very different from the long camps Ellis has become accustomed to since his stint with the USWNT, and his team’s last Olympics ended with an informal outing in the quarterfinals at the hands from Sweden.
David Parker has done wonders for Birmingham City, establishing the squad among the WSL’s top three and guiding them to a famous FA Cup triumph in 2012.
He resigned in 2016, ending his five-year tenure as first-team manager and seven-year association with the club.
Parker hasn’t had a job in leadership since, but as of November 2019 he was working as a college scout in the United States in Southern California. With a wealth of experience in women’s football and a proud record as a manager, he would be a great job – despite having left the pitch -.