18 August 2020

Manchester United Women boss Casey Stoney plays down Great Britain possibility

18 August 2020

Casey Stoney has played down the possibility of managing Great Britain at next summer’s rearranged Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The Manchester United Women’s boss, who captained Team GB at London 2020, says she is focused on her club commitments.

The Football Association is yet to announce who will lead Britain at the Games, which were put back to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Stoney (back row, fourth left) captained Great Britain at London 2012 (PA Archive)

England coach Phil Neville would have done the job if the Games had taken place as planned this summer, but he is stepping down at the end of his contract next July. His successor Sarina Wiegman will not take over until after her Olympic commitments with the Holland national side are over.

The Olympics run from July 23 to August 8. Inviting Neville to stay on for the Games is still a possibility but, in announcing Wiegman’s appointment last week, the FA said a decision regarding the Olympics would be made “in due course”.

That has raised the prospect of a short-term appointment but Stoney, who previously worked as Neville’s assistant, does not appear to be be interested.

It would be a fantastic opportunity for anyone to take that (but) I think for me my commitment is here.

“My future and my commitment is for this club,” said Stoney, who is preparing United for their second season in the Women’s Super League, at media briefing. “Every summer is an important one in terms of recruitment and building.

“It would be a fantastic opportunity for anyone to take that. I was a captain at a home Olympics and it’s an incredible experience.

“As a head coach or for anyone that’s involved in that, it’s a great experience of preparing a team in a short turnaround of tournament football, (but) I think for me my commitment is here.”

Sarina Wiegman will succeed Phil Neville in 2021 (PA Wire)

Stoney is impressed by the appointment of Wiegman, who led Holland to Euro 2017 glory and the 2019 World Cup final.

Stoney, who won 130 England caps, said: “She’s got a great track record, she knows how to get a team to win. It will be exciting for the England dressing room.

“How the Dutch dressing room will be feeling right now I’m not sure – with a year to go and an Olympics to perform in – but I have to say it’s exciting and hopefully she can take the team forward.”

Under Stoney, United finished fourth in the curtailed WSL last season – their first since securing promotion to the top flight.

Stoney wants to take United into the top three of the WSL (PA Archive)

Stoney, whose side open their new campaign at home to champions Chelsea on September 6, said: “We are still very young in our journey.

“To move into the top three we need to be more consistent – even maintaining fourth is going to be difficult because everybody has strengthened – but it has to be our aim.

“We might not necessarily achieve it but it can be our aim. I think we have got enough in our squad now, we are developing all the time. We’ve got exciting young players and experience in our team.”

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