Former Lionesses boss Hope Powell has stated she believes the England’s women’s team should be managed by an English coach.
Powell, 56 and holder of a CBE, has been out of management since leaving WSL club Brighton last October after an 8-0 hammering by Tottenham. Prior to her five-year spell on the south coast, she took charge of England from 1998-2013 during which she led the team to five major tournaments and became the first woman to earn the UEFA Pro Licence.
Although she didn’t lead England to a major tournament, Powell is widely credited with helping to transform the women’s game in this country. However, in an interview with The Times the former national manager stated that she believes an English coach should be given the opportunity to lead the Lionesses, helping to encourage home-grown coaches in the women’s game.
Dutchwoman Sarina Wiegman took charge of England back in 2021 and led the team to a very first major tournament trophy at the European Championships last summer. Although Powell clearly stated she respected the superb job Wiegman had done since taking charge, she also believes that young coaches needed a clear pathway to the top job.
“I don’t envy Sarina (Wiegman) at all,” said Powell. “It’s brilliant what she’s done. She’s proven it with the Dutch [winning the 2017 Euros] and proven it again with England.
“I think the English [coach] should be English. Sarina’s done a brilliant job but the amount of money that coaches pay to get qualified, get opportunities, they can look at it and go, ‘That doesn’t equate.’
“It’s not cheap doing FA qualifications. And you’re telling people to invest in this to give themselves the best opportunity to get jobs? But then the argument will be, she’s won something. Yes, but how does that affect the long-term?”
Powell has years of experience of being involved with the national women’s side. Not only did she spend 15 years as manager of England, but also won 66 caps and coached the Team GB side at the 2012 Olympic Games.
And the ex-Brighton boss believes she still had plenty to offer the FA even after leaving the managers job in 2013. She left England after a group stage exit in at the 2013 Euros, the first major tournament she had led the Lionesses and failed to win at least one game.
Powell, who was the first non-white person to manage an England national team when appointed in 1998, also raised the issue of a lack of diversity across the top jobs in football management.
“I was disappointed that I was not offered something else post-England,” she added.
“I went to the PFA and Uefa. I would have liked to have stayed in the FA. Will there be another black male or female that gets to coach England? That’s the million-dollar question.
“There are still fewer people of colour in leadership roles in the game. You get to the last stage of an interview and you’re largely sitting in front of people that don’t look anything like you and wouldn’t understand anything about you.”
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