Phil Neville will use the England Women job as a stepping stone to a career in men’s football management, former Lionesses winger Rachel Yankey has claimed.
The Football Association’s controversial appointment of Neville, who has no past experience of working in the women’s game, saw him handed a contract through to the 2021 European Championship.
Yankey said she had no problem with Neville being appointed if the FA considered him the pick of the crop of contenders, and added: “Now we’ve got an ex-pro male footballer working in the women’s game, so perhaps we will see an ex-pro female footballer working in the men’s game.”
“Is he looking to get into the men’s game and manage there? Yeah, I’m sure he is,” Yankey said.
“For him it probably will be used for progression, but what I’d love to see is for him to help female coaches.”
Long-serving former captain Casey Stoney appears likely to have a role on Neville’s coaching team, in a move that may end her England playing career.
Yankey, who won 129 caps from 1997 to 2013, may also feature in Neville’s thinking as he pieces together his staff.
The former Arsenal Ladies forward said: “Yes he is the manager now but it looks like the FA is trying to build more of a team ethic and perhaps bring in another female coach in the future.”
She added on Betfair’s website: “We don’t know whether he is going to be the best manager or coach, but just to be able to sit in a room with him and talk to him about what he has done will surely be invaluable to the players.”
He will pick his first squad next month ahead of March’s SheBelieves Cup, and may need guidance from the likes of Stoney and former caretaker boss Mo Marley on which players should be involved in the tournament, staged in the United States, which features England, USA, Germany and France.
It remains to be seen whether Eni Aluko will be recalled, although it is understood she would be available to England if called on.
Neville will hope the outcry over his unearthed tweets soon dies down, although he will face further scrutiny when the FA settles on a date to formally unveil him at a press conference.
Tweets from 2011 and 2012 were labelled “misogynistic and sexist” by anti-discrimination group Kick It Out on Wednesday, but FA chief executive Martin Glenn said they “would not meet the threshold for issuing a charge”. Neville apologised and said the comments were “not a true and genuine reflection of either my character or beliefs”.