Football: England women's team boss Phil Neville says links to outgoing US manager's job are 'flattering'

Before England's 2-1 defeat by Norway on Sept 3, The Daily Mail reported that Phil Neville was the top target of US Soccer for the position vacated by Jill Ellis.
Before England's 2-1 defeat by Norway on Sept 3, The Daily Mail reported that Phil Neville was the top target of US Soccer for the position vacated by Jill Ellis.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (THE GUARDIAN) - The England women's team manager, Phil Neville, has dismissed reports linking him to the United States women's national team.

Last month, it was announced that Jill Ellis, the two-time World Cup-winning head coach, is to step down from arguably the top job in women's football, following the retention of their title in France.

Before England's 2-1 defeat by Norway on Tuesday (Sept 3), The Daily Mail reported that Neville was the top target of US Soccer for the vacant position, having impressed Ellis.

The 42-year-old has been named on the shortlist alongside Ellis and Netherlands' coach, Sarina Wiegman, for the Fifa women's coach of the year award.

However, when asked about the alleged interest, Neville batted it away, telling BBC Sport: "There has been no approach."

The former England international is under contract with the Lionesses until 2021 and is committed to leading the British team into the 2020 Olympics and England into a home European Championship finals in 2021.

Speaking after England took the lead only to concede twice in the second half, in front of a record crowd for the home side in Bergen, he said: "My focus is on winning us a gold medal in the Olympics and beyond that. It's flattering because it means you are doing a good job, but my focus is England.

"I love this job, and we've got a big job to do. We can see over the last two games that the work is still in progress and we've still got a long way to go."

 
 

He responded similarly after the World Cup when asked of his long-term commitment to the Lionesses, saying: "You read and listen to stories, and people say: 'What's the next move', but I can't think of a better job in football.

"I get an organisation that backs me, anything I want. I get a set of players that play to my tune and I've got scope to improve, to make an impact on people's lives.

"I'm committed to the three-year project. I don't see another job that would give me what I'm in now. As long as the FA back me the way they've backed me, and the players show the same kind of thirst for learning, then I'll be here for the three years."