Phil Neville plays down USWNT reports

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A report from the UK had suggested that Phil Neville was in the running to become the next USWNT head coach, but the England women’s boss has poured cold water on the links.

Speaking after England lost 2-1 at Norway in a friendly on Tuesday, Neville said he was happy being in charge of the Lionesses as he is also due to take charge of Team GB at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics next summer.

“There’s been no approach,” Neville said. “My focus is on winning us a gold medal in the Olympics. It’s flattering because it means you’re doing a good job. My focus is England. I love this job.”

The former Manchester United and England defender then went on to reaffirm his commitment to England and the Football Association, as he was named as one of the three finalists for the coach of the year in the women’s game by FIFA last week.

“I’ve been linked with a number of jobs since becoming England manager and that’s because my players have been so good,” Neville said. “I’ve said before, I love the job I am doing, it’s a tremendous challenge. The players are heading in the right direction and I get backed unbelievably by the FA. So I am 100 per cent happy.”

With 18 months under his belt as head coach of England, he led his squad to the World Cup semifinal where they lost 2-1 to eventual champions the U.S. but the jury is still out as the Lionesses were expected to at least reach the final four in France this summer.

It isn’t clear how serious of a contender Neville ever was for the USWNT job.

With Jill Ellis stepping down as head coach in October after delivering back-to-back World Cup victories, the USWNT are searching for their next manager with NWSL coaches Paul Riley, Laura Harvey and Vlatko Andonovski all leading candidates.

New USWNT GM Kate Markgraf will be narrowing down the search in the next few weeks and given Neville’s relative inexperience as a coach, it would be incredibly surprising to see him interviewed for this position.

The initial report stated that Ellis is a big fan of Neville and she would have a big say in appointing her successor, but it would still be a huge shock if Neville landed the biggest job in the women’s game.