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England Women are ‘on the verge of something special,’ says Phil Neville

Neville was named successor to Mark Sampson who was sacked last September.

Phil Neville believes England Women are “on the verge of something special” after he was appointed their head coach until the end of the 2021 UEFA Women’s Championships.

On Tuesday, the former Manchester United, Everton and England player become the permanent successor to Mark Sampson, who was sacked last September.

Neville, 41, takes over a team that is third in the world rankings, behind only the United States and Germany.

“I am honoured to be given the chance to lead England. With the new coaching team we are putting in place, we can help the players build on their great progress in recent years,” Neville said.

“This squad is on the verge of something special and I believe I can lead them to the next level.

“I can’t wait to get out on the training pitch and down to work with an elite group of players at the top of their game.

“There is no greater honour than representing your country and it will be a privilege to do it again.”

Capped 59 times by his country, Neville has also held coaching positions at his former club United and Spanish side Valencia, as well as doing some work with England’s U21 side.

Known for his versatility as a player, Neville will start work immediately and he is currently with the Lionesses at their warm-weather training camp in La Manga, Spain, where they played the Netherlands in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Tuesday.

His first challenge will be the SheBelieves Cup tournament in March, when England head to the United States for games with France, Germany and the hosts, but the big target will be next year’s World Cup in France.

However, shortly after he was named as the new head coach, a historical tweet posted by Neville in 2012 caused a Twitter storm.

“Morning men couple of hours cricket be4 work sets me up nicely for the day,” Neville wrote.

When asked why he only referred to men in his post, Neville replied: “When I said morning men I thought the women would of been busy preparing breakfast/getting kids ready/making the beds-sorry morning women!”

Neville subsequently deleted the sexist post and then appeared to remove his Twitter account, @fizzer18, which was unavailable to users.

Neville replaces Sampson, who was accused of racism by England striker Eni Aluko, although he was eventually sacked for “inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour” in a previous role with Bristol Academy.

That prompted the FA to turn to England U19 coach Mo Marley as a caretaker manager and she led England to a 1-0 defeat by France in a friendly in October and two convincing World Cup qualifying wins over Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kazakhstan.

England Women’s next qualifying game is against Wales in Southampton on April 6.

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