The Football Association has today defended its decision to appoint Phil Neville as manager of the England women’s national football team by challenging its critics to “show [them] someone else who has played football and also knows some women”.
The organisation has faced a barrage of criticism for its appointment of the former Manchester United and Everton man, and have been accused of hiring him based on his profile while ignoring worthwhile candidates already working within the women’s game.
Speaking today however, a spokesman for the FA laughed off such accusations, and insisted that – when narrowing down potential candidates to those who had played the game professionally and also actually knew women – there were very few suitable applicants beyond Neville.
“We appreciate the interest in the women’s game and encourage more discussion on such issues. But to suggest that we have acted in any way other than professional throughout our selection process is simply absurd. Most of our candidates had either spent time actually coaching teams but never met a single woman in their lives, or were actual women but had never played for Manchester United in the Premier League. To be frank, Phil Neville was simply the best candidate,” said the spokesman.
“Not only has this man played football at the highest but he also knows a vast number of women. He’s married to a woman. His brother is married to a woman. His sister is a woman. His own mother is a woman, for God’s sake. You can’t ignore that sort of experience.”