Phil Neville is to step down as head coach of England Women with immediate effect, leaving the Football Associations’s plans for the summer Olympic Games up in the air.
Neville has brought forward his departure as the Lionesses’ head coach, which he had been expected to leave this summer, amid reports he is set to reunite with his former Manchester United teammate David Beckham at Inter Miami.
This month the FA’s head of women’s football, Baroness Sue Campbell, told the BBC that Neville was expected to take charge of Team GB for the Tokyo Olympics, which have been rescheduled for this summer.
The FA must now find both a coach for the Olympics and a temporary replacement for the women’s team, with the new full-time manager Sarina Wiegman not taking over herself until after the Games, where she is to coach the Netherlands women’s side.
Neville had previously said it was a “massive ambition” of his to manage a Great Britain team at the Olympics, but he was sounded out about the Inter Miami role this month.
Following the news of Neville’s departure, Campbell thanked him for his work with the Lionesses, with whom he won the 2019 SheBelieves Cup. “After steadying the ship at a challenging period, he helped us to win the SheBelieves Cup for the first time, reach the World Cup semi-finals and qualify for the Olympics,” Campbell said.
“Given his status as a former Manchester United and England player, he did much to raise the profile of our team. He has used his platform to champion the women’s game, worked tirelessly to support our effort to promote more female coaches and used his expertise to develop many of our younger players.”
In a statement, Neville said: “It has been an honour to manage England and I have enjoyed three of the best years of my career with the FA and the Lionesses. The players who wear the England shirt are some of the most talented and dedicated athletes I have ever had the privilege to work with.
“I wish England Women every success in the future and look forward to following their journey in the years to come.”