Former Manchester United defender Phil Neville was hired as the coach of England's women's team on Tuesday for his first full-time managerial role.
LONDON (AP) – Former Manchester United defender Phil Neville was hired as the coach of England's women's team on Tuesday for his first full-time managerial role.
In a move that will further raise the profile of the women's game in England, Neville was appointed despite having limited experience in soccer management since retiring in 2013 with 59 England caps and 10 major trophies from his 11 years at United under Alex Ferguson.
The 41-year-old Neville has had brief spells as an assistant coach with the England Under-21 men's team, United, and Valencia. He has also managed Salford City - the semi-professional team he co-owns with other former United players - for one game.
The Football Association said it was impressed by his ''coaching expertise,'' with FA director of women's football Sue Campbell adding the England team ''needed a winner with innovative ideas.''
''There is no greater honor than representing your country,'' Neville said, ''and it will be a privilege to do it again.''
Neville succeeded Mark Sampson, who was fired as manager last year for misconduct. Under Sampson, England reached the Women's World Cup semifinals in 2015, bringing the women's game to national attention.
The next edition is in France in 2019.
''It adds a bit of profile to the women's game,'' former England player Rachel Yankey said.
The homegrown stars of United's glory years under Ferguson are slowly graduating from the field to the dug-out.
Ryan Giggs recently took over Wales men for his first full-time managerial role. Phil Neville's older brother, Gary, had a brief spell in charge of Valencia last season before getting fired. Nicky Butt is head of coaching at United's academy.
A British newspaper this week brought up a past tweet sent by Phil Neville, who posted in 2012: ''Morning men couple of hours cricket be4 work sets me up nicely for the day!''
When asked what about the women, he posted: ''When I said morning men I thought the women would of been busy preparing breakfast/getting kids ready/making beds-sorry morning women!''
Neville, who was also club captain for Everton as a player, will be in charge through to the end of the European Championship in 2021.