Emma Hayes: Sarina Wiegman could manage in men’s professional football
Emma Hayes has no doubt that England boss Sarina Wiegman could “do the job” as a head coach in men’s professional football.
And Chelsea manager Hayes says it is “time for a lot of things to be on more of an equal footing” following England’s stunning Euro 2022 triumph.
Chloe Kelly’s extra-time goal sealed a 2-1 victory over Germany at Wembley.
It was the Lionesses’ first major trophy, and the first for a senior England side since the 1966 World Cup.
At the heart of it all was 52-year-old Wiegman, who only took charge last September, and claimed a second consecutive Euro trophy, having guided her native Netherlands to glory in 2017.
As a result, debate will inevitably intensify about the day when a female head coach carries out a similar role in men’s football.
“She is an amazing manager. It’s the same sport, she just manages women rather than men at an extremely high level,” Hayes told the PA news agency.
“I think some of the opinions in and around whether women could do that job are absolute nonsense. Of course she could do the job.
“I think it is time for a lot of things to be on more of an equal footing.
“Whether it is my niece only being able to play one football session in school, whereas the boys play three, or girls who are playing at the same level as the men on a fraction of their pay.
“For me, there has to be an increase in investment across the game, and when it comes to coaching into the men’s game it has to be a pre-requisite for successful teams.
She is an an immense human being who carries the pressure so well
“I think it is time for those changes to happen.
“You’ve got to invest in not only free access for the kids, but also coaching, because seeing Sarina on the touchline last night I think is immense for any young girl who aspires to grow up being a coach. We need to invest in female coaches as well.
“I am super proud of Sarina. She is an an immense human being who carries the pressure so well and delivers in so many different ways.
“I’m sure for her winning the title with her home nation was immense, but she realised last night how massive football is in this country.
“She is so humble, she is knowledgeable, she is wise and she is experienced, and most importantly, she is a fantastic person.”
Hayes admitted to having “about five hours’ sleep” after the final before donning her tracksuit and running a coaching session with children as part of her support for McDonald’s Fun Football.
“I think I have been crying the whole morning. I don’t think I can take it in,” she added.
“Everybody in this country has worked so hard for a number of years to get to this point, and the fact that team did what they did on home soil in front of a packed crowd at Wembley, it is what dreams are made of.
“They have inspired a nation. Everyone is in love with that team for the right reasons. They are winners, and they are so deserving of everything that is going to come their way.
“It is important for them to enjoy it today, this week, the next few weeks, because what they have done deserves a celebration of this magnitude.
“I think everybody in the women’s game knew it was now or never, so they have delivered what a lot of people had worked towards for a number of years.
“It is a talented group, it always has been, but they needed the magic of Sarina to help the team get over the line.”
::Emma Hayes was supporting McDonald’s Fun Football, which will provide free coaching sessions to one million children and recruit over 100 new women’s coaches over the next four years. Sign up to your nearest session at mcdonalds.co.uk/football
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