Phil Neville says he always planned to leave England women's national team for a club job

Phil Neville never viewed coaching the England women’s national team as a long-term job. Just ask him.

Neville confirmed that was the case while appearing on the Keys & Gray Show, saying he always planned to leave the Lionesses after three years.

Neville, 43, made it sound like he viewed the women’s job as a stepping stone to what he actually wanted to do.

“My plan was always just to go for the three years and then get into day-to-day running of a club job, which would be what I wanted to do. It’s been brilliant and I’ve loved every minute of it, but ultimately you don’t get to see the players. You don’t get to impact them every single day, which is now what I feel I need to do.

“The plan was always to do the three years. I had a World Cup, I had the Olympics  — which [would have been] this summer — and then there’s the Euros in England next summer. That was my three-year stint at international football.”

Neville, a longtime Manchester United and Everton defender, took over the English women’s national team in 2018 despite having no prior managerial experience and never even having applied for the job. Under his guidance, England won the SheBelieves Cup in 2019 and reached the semifinals of the 2019 Women’s World Cup, losing to the United States. The Lionesses then lost to Sweden in the third-place match.

Neville was expected to manage the team during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. With the event being postponed until 2021, it’s unclear whether Neville will still do so.

Neville’s contract with the women’s team is set to expire in July 2021. By announcing his intentions now, Neville has given clubs plenty of time to prepare offers once he officially becomes available.

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