Sarina Wiegman was named as the new England Women’s head coach on Thursday following the announcement of Phil Neville’s decision to leave his role as Lionesses manager back in April.
The current Netherlands manager has agreed to a four-year deal that will commence in September of 2021. Weigman has confirmed that she will stay in charge of the Netherlands up until that date which will also see her take control of the Dutch national team for the postponed Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
Following the announcement on Thursday, the Football Association’s director of women’s football Baroness Sue Campbell said, “Sarina was our number one choice”. The FA’s chief executive Mark Bullinghm said: “Sarina was the outstanding candidate from a very strong field. She is a proven winner and we are confident she can take England to the next level”.
The new boss had this to say following her appointment, “The ride with the Oranje Lionesses has been amazing so far, but we haven’t reached our final destination yet. I am extremely excited by the prospect of leading England women in the future”.
“For now, I am 100% focused on Oranje. I will do my utmost to add another chapter to their remarkable journey before making my next step”
Who Is Sarina Wiegman?
Sarina Wiegman has enhanced the women’s game in the Netherland’s over the last couple of years. Before becoming a manager she was a player herself making 104 appearances the first to reach 100 caps for her country, and captaining the Netherlands.
She was a student at the University of North Carolina in 1989 and as amongst some other famous faces including USA star Mia Hamm and US coach Anson Dorrance. It was Dorrance who hired Wiegmann after seeing her excel in a tournament as she had no trouble in adjusting to the football culture.
When asked about Wiegman, Dorrance said, “She was a wonderfully nice person and she adapted quickly, won a starting position and took that experience back to Holland”.
She was named head coach of the national team in January 2017 and led the Dutch team to glory at that Summer’s European Championships, facing and beating England in the semi-finals before facing Denmark in the final and beating them 4-2.
She was named FIFA coach of the year in 2017. Since then she has led them to the World Cup final in France last summer where they faced USA who beat them by two goals to nil. The Netherlands have moved up to third in the world rankings
The 2019 Women’s World Cup in France was a turning point with thousands of Dutch fans following their team to France singing and dancing in the streets and chanting at matches to show their support for their side.
How Will She Improve England?
The FA’s Baroness Sue Campbell has described Sarina Weigman as a “perfect cultural fit” following the appointment and the general reaction from both fans and those working in the women’s footballing world has been a good one.
She was in competition with some very big names including former USA and two time World Cup winning manager Jill Ellis who seemed to be the favourite for the role at one point.
There will be no questioning of this appointment as Wiegman has already proven herself at the top level of International women’s football and won trophies and reached finals on the biggest stage. She is only the second female manager to take charge of the Lionesses, Hope Powell being the other, and she will be able to give this England team a new identity and push a team that has shown what they are capable of over the last few years.
Phil Neville has not always been a fan favourite and he’s only added fuel to that fire in the last couple of months with him claiming that managing England was always a stepping stone job. This is a sport that had millions of eyes on it last summer and has only gone from strength to strength in the last couple of years.
England now need a manager that can take them to the next level and challenge other teams like the USA, Netherlands and Germany for this biggest title the International stage can offer.
Sarina Weigman is a welcomed breath of fresh air for the Lionesses and she will have plenty of time between now and September 2021 to figure out where she wants to take this team and she’ll have an opportunity to showcase what she wants in her first major tournament the following year when England host the Euro’s in July 2022.