Siobhan Chamberlain believes Hege Riise should manage Team GB at Tokyo Olympics

Phil Medlicott, PA
·3-min read

Former England goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain feels it would be “weird” if the Lionesses’ new interim boss Hege Riise was not appointed as manager of Great Britain’s team for the Tokyo Olympics.

Brought in by the Football Association last month, Riise will oversee England get-togethers this month, in April and in June, ahead of Sarina Wiegman taking permanent charge in September.

That was after Phil Neville stepped down as England boss in January to manage Inter Miami.

Prior to his exit, Neville had been in line for the Olympics job, and last week the FA said Riise was set to either manage or be assistant boss of the GB side at the Games this summer, with a decision on the head coach position to be made after England’s February camp.

Siobhan Chamberlain (centre) won 50 England caps (Mike Egerton/PA).
Siobhan Chamberlain, centre, won 50 England caps (Mike Egerton/PA)

Chamberlain told the PA news agency: “I think it would be weird if they didn’t (make Riise GB boss).

“You’ve brought someone in, and are they then just doing a couple of training sessions, a couple of friendly matches? It would make sense for her to be that manager.”

Chamberlain has no doubt that in the 51-year-old, England are working with someone with a “winning mentality”.

Riise’s glittering playing career included helping Norway win the World Cup, European Championship and Olympic gold. She was also United States assistant boss when they were 2012 Olympic champions, and has guided LSK Kvinner to multiple Norwegian league titles.

Chamberlain said: “She’s a winner – she’s won as a player, she’s won as a coach.

“She’s got that experience and that winning mentality. I think if someone is just coming in for a short period, you want someone that’s going to give you that buzz, that winning mentality, that bit extra that’s going to kind of force you on to success.”

Riise’s first squad, for the February 23 friendly against Northern Ireland, was announced on Tuesday.

Manchester City's Ellie Roebuck is among the young trio of goalkeepers in Riise's squad (Tim Goode/PA).
Manchester City’s Ellie Roebuck is among the young trio of goalkeepers in Riise’s squad (Tim Goode/PA)

The three goalkeepers in the 20-strong group are Manchester City’s Ellie Roebuck, Everton’s Sandy MacIver and Birmingham’s Hannah Hampton, who are aged 21, 22 and 20 respectively and in terms of senior caps have only Roebuck’s five between them.

Chamberlain – retired since last September following two seasons with Manchester United – rates all three highly, and the 37-year-old said: “Historically there’s been so much grief and stick and negativity about female goalkeepers.

“But we didn’t get goalkeeper coaching, and I think that’s the big difference now – these goalkeepers coming through have probably had about as much full-time goalkeeper coaching that I got in my entire career.

“They’re reaping the rewards now of the way the game and women’s goalkeeping has progressed, and it’s fantastic to see.”

A young player not featuring in the England squad was 19-year-old United forward Lauren James, who has a groin injury that also rules her out of Friday’s Women’s Super League derby clash at Manchester City.

Lauren James last week shared on Instagram a screenshot of racist abuse she had suffered (Barry Coombs/PA).
Lauren James last week shared on Instagram a screenshot of racist abuse she had suffered (Barry Coombs/PA)

Last week James shared on Instagram a screenshot of racist abuse she had suffered and called on the social media platform to “do something about it”.

Chamberlain said of her former team-mate: “She’s a phenomenal player and a great person.

“I’ve spoken to her over the last couple of days. She is a 19-year-old girl and she shouldn’t be having to deal with that kind of situation, and how she did it was a credit to herself and her family.”

Instagram has announced new measures, including removing accounts, to tackle online abuse following the recent spate of racist attacks on footballers.

:: This season BT Sport is showing more Barclays FA Women’s Super League matches than ever before. Watch Manchester City v Manchester United on BT Sport 2 from 6.30pm on Friday February 12.