Manchester United Women head coach Casey Stoney has ruled herself out of contention to lead Team GB into the Tokyo Olympics.
The 2020 Games were pushed back to this summer due to the impact of coronavirus and the International Olympic Committee moved on Friday to dismiss renewed speculation that they are set to be cancelled.
There remains plenty of uncertainty around the upcoming Olympics, at which Phil Neville had initially been in line to manage the Great Britain women’s team.
"I remember writing down that every single day I've got to inspire my team, and from the very first day, the team inspired me."
Best wishes for the future, Phil! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/JhtOukAike
— Lionesses (@Lionesses) January 18, 2021
The ex-Manchester United player this week stepped down as England boss to take over Major League Soccer outfit Inter Miami, with Hege Riise brought in as interim head coach before Sarina Wiegman takes charge in September.
It remains to be seen what the Football Association do regarding a manager for the Team GB squad at the Olympics but Stoney says it will not be her, saying her focus is on high-flying United.
“Yeah, it is solely here,” she said. “The summer is a big, big period of time for me as a manager to make sure that I’ve done the recruitment I need, that plans are in place for next season.
“If – if – we qualify for the Champions League we’re back in slightly earlier as well so the planning process starts from that pretty much as soon as the season finishes.
“I think anybody taking that job it’d be a fantastic opportunity.
“I’ve been a captain at an Olympics, it’s an incredible tournament, it’s an amazing experience and I’m sure for whoever takes that it will be, like I said, an invaluable experience for them.”
Put to Stoney it does not sound like it will be her, the United boss shook her said and said: “No”.
Stoney was named head coach of United’s new professional women’s side in 2018, leaving her role as assistant coach to Neville with the Lionesses.
“I don’t think you can discredit Phil – he got them to a (World Cup) semi-final,” she said.
“I think he was taking over a team that was not in a very good place after the last era.
“I think one of his jobs was to get the group back together, get them in a positive frame of mind, get them performing for England again and I think there’s games when he did that and there’s games when he didn’t do that.
“Building up to the World Cup, I think they were in good place.
“I think after the World Cup they had a very big hangover and they didn’t move on quick enough from that, but that’s a combined effort of staff and players.
“I’ve been to a World Cup and sometimes it’s really difficult to get over it when you have such a big disappointment.
Newly appointed #InterMiamiCF Head Coach Phil Neville speaks on the importance of building culture, developing young talent and the vital role supporters will play in our success. pic.twitter.com/C6QKgUTuq7
— Inter Miami CF (@InterMiamiCF) January 21, 2021
“So, I think overall he can be really proud of his time in England and I wish him all the luck in the world in Miami.
“I think it’s a job that’s less in the limelight, probably less criticism, less media attention and a hell of a lot more sun, so why not?”
The temperature will certainly be colder at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday, when United welcome Birmingham looking to bounce back from a 2-1 loss at Chelsea that saw Emma Hayes’ team usurp them at the top of the Women’s Super League.
“My players have never been in a position before of being top and playing a ‘favourite’ for the league either, so it was a different position for them to be in,” said Stoney, who confirmed injured United States international Tobin Heath was awaiting results of a scan.
“We’ve learned from it, we’ve lifted ourselves and it’s all about the next game now.”