03 June 2020

England’s most capped female player Fara Williams hits out at Phil Neville’s ‘lack of respect’ for women’s game

England’s most capped female player Fara Williams has launched a scathing attack on current Lionesses coach Phil Neville accusing him of insulting the women’s game after he revealed he was using the role as a stepping-stone to a club position.

Neville will be leaving his position when his contract with the Lionesses ends in July 2021 and last week controversially revealed that his motivations behind the job were primarily to forge a pathway to taking over at a club side.

His comments, which were considered a slight on the quality of the women’s game, sparked criticism from players and coaches including former England manager Hope Powell, who dubbed them ‘disappointing.’

Speaking to Sky Sports, Williams, 36, who earned 172 international caps between 2002 and 2019, said: “I was hurt by those comments. 

“I am no longer with that squad, but I certainly know what it means to me to play for England,” the Reading midfielder added.

Currently out of the squad, Williams says she 'knows what it means to play for England' (PA)

“I know what it means for the girls there currently, staff that are there currently [and] that were there before.”

“The fact that you can come out and say you was [sic] using our national team as a stepping stone, that disappointed me.

“I just think it shows a little lack of respect for our game and, as I say, where it was and where we are trying to get it to." 

Neville sparked the row with comments made on beIN Sports’ Keys & Gray Show  when he admitted to using the ’biggest job in women’s football’ as a step towards final intentions with a men’s club.

“My plan was always just to go for the three years and then get into the day-to-day running of a club job, which would be what I wanted to do,” he said.

Neville will leave his role in July 2021 when his contract comes to an end (PA)

"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.”

It was announced in April that Neville will not renew his contract when it runs out in July next year.

Names currently in the frame to take over the role include former USA coach Jill Ellis, who led the American team to two World Cup titles.

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