Phil Neville has been confirmed as the new head coach of MLS side Inter Miami, leaving his role at the helm of England Women. The 43-year-old had previously announced he would leave England Women in the summer before Sarina Wiegman takes over, but will instead leave for Miami immediately.
Inter Miami are co-owned by Neville’s former Manchester United and England teammate David Beckham and the pair are also involved in other business ventures together. Neville will replace Uruguayan Diego Alonso, who departed the club earlier this month.
“I am incredibly delighted for this opportunity to coach Inter Miami and to work with Chris (Henderson) and the entire ownership group. This is a very young club with a lot of promise and upside, and I am committed to challenging myself, my players and everyone around me to grow and build a competitive soccer culture we can all be proud of,” said incoming Inter Miami CF Head Coach Phil Neville. “This fantastic soccer-loving market deserves consistent performances and a winning mentality, and I look forward to getting to work.”
It had been expected that Neville would vacate his position with the England Women side in the summer, paving the way for Dutch manager Sarina Wiegman to take over. Neville was also due to coach the Team GB women’s side at the rescheduled Olympic Games in the summer but will now join Inter Miami, who last year finished 10th in the Eastern Conference in their inaugural season in the MLS.
The news signals the end of a three-year tenure coaching the Lionesses for Neville, who lifted one trophy during his time in charge, the She Believes Cup in 2019. Neville led his country to a fourth-placed finish at the World Cup the same year but his influence on the team was disappointing overall with his side only winning one of nine games against teams in the top five of world rankings. England also slipped from third to sixth themselves in the world rankings during Neville’s three-year stint.
“It has been an honor to manage England and I have enjoyed three of the best years of my career with the FA and the Lionesses. The players who wear the England shirt are some of the most talented and dedicated athletes I have ever had the privilege to work with.”
Neville is a co-owner of EFL League Two club Salford City alongside Miami part-owner David Beckham but has so far not taken on a role in management in the men’s game. The former England international and English Premier League player spent a season as a coach at Manchester United in 2013-14 and briefly worked with Valencia under his brother, Gary, a couple of years later.
“I am very happy with the leadership group we have established to lead the team as we turn the page following our inaugural season and look forward to having Chris and Phil join us soon. I have known Phil since we were both teenagers at the Manchester United Academy. We share a footballing DNA having been trained by some of the best leaders in the game, and it’s those values that I have always wanted running through our Club,” said Inter Miami CF Co-Owner David Beckham.
“Phil has deep experience in football, as a player and as a coach at both club and international level, and over his career he has worked with many of the finest managers and players in the game. I know his qualities as a person, his decency, loyalty and honesty – and his incredible energy and work ethic. Anyone who has played or worked with Phil knows he is a natural leader, and I believe now is the right time for him to join.”
Finishing 10th in their first season in the MLS was seen as a good building block by some, but Beckham and the other Inter Miami owners are incredibly ambitious and have debatably already complied a squad capable of competing for the MLS Cup. With big names and established talent such as Blaise Matuidi and Gonzalo Higuain combined with promising youngsters like Mattias Pellegrini and Julian Carranza, Beckham and co. will be hoping that Neville has it in him to bring success to Miami in the short-term.
“Chris brings a successful and winning MLS track record and we couldn’t be happier to bring him on board along with our new head coach, Phil Neville,” said Inter Miami CF Managing Owner Jorge Mas. “The fabric of our Club is unique, it reflects the passion of our community. We as owners are committed to giving Phil and Chris the tools they need to develop a sustainable winning soccer culture that delivers consistent performance on the field. As we enter the 2021 season, Phil and Chris are an integral part of the vision that drives us.”
“We have great expectations for Inter Miami in the short and long term.”