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Hege Riise to lead England Women training camp in February

England v Iceland File Photo
(Image credit: Bradley Collyer)

Hege Riise will lead the England Women training camp next month following Phil Neville’s departure to Inter Miami, the Football Association has announced.

Riise, a former Norway midfielder, has been appointed as an assistant coach on a short-term contract through to the summer alongside former Canada international Rhian Wilkinson.

The FA will review the position regarding the interim head coach role, and who should take on the Team GB reins for the Tokyo Olympics this summer, after the conclusion of the camp.

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Riise and Wilkinson applied for the assistant coaching position following Rehanne Skinner’s departure for Tottenham last November.

Neville’s reign officially came to an end on Monday when his move to Major League Soccer was confirmed.

Riise said: “I’m excited about the opportunity I’ve been given to work with England Women.

“This is a proud and ambitious team that I look forward to working with and I am confident of making a positive impact when I meet up with the squad in February.”

Both Riise and Wilkinson have huge international playing pedigree, having won 188 and 181 caps respectively.

Baroness Sue Campbell has hailed the pedigree of England's two new assistant coaches

Baroness Sue Campbell has hailed the pedigree of England’s two new assistant coaches (John Walton/PA)

Baroness Sue Campbell, the FA’s director of women’s football, said: “They bring significant international experience and will help guide our players before the arrival of Sarina Wiegman as our new head coach to lead us into the home Euro in 2022.

“Once February is complete, we will sit down and assess the Lionesses situation and consider next steps for Team GB in consultation with the home nations and the British Olympic Association.

“At the same time, we are committed to helping English coaching talent as underlined by the announcement made last month about a number of roles across development teams.”

Wiegman, who will take up the permanent head coach position after leading Holland at the Olympics, is working with the FA’s head of women’s technical, Kay Cossington, to ensure the culture around the national team set-up is in place before she officially begins work, with a short lead-in time to the Euros the following summer.

Sarina Wiegman will become England head coach after the Olympic Games

Sarina Wiegman will become England head coach after the Olympic Games (Richard Sellers/PA)

However, tactically Riise will be given the freedom to implement her own ideas.

It is understood to be unlikely that the Team GB coach would be a Women’s Super League boss on temporary assignment, because it would be difficult for the other WSL coaches to feel comfortable sharing player data with one of their rivals.

There is also an acceptance from the FA that the uncertainty around whether Tokyo will even go ahead because of the coronavirus pandemic adds extra complexity to the appointment.

Reacting to the appointment, Riise’s fellow Norwegian, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, said: “I know Hege has done really well with Lillestrom and she’s had a fantastic career both as a coach and a player.

“I think they’ve got a very good coach there and a very good human being.”

England have not played a competitive international since the SheBelieves Cup last March, but the FA has a team working to rectify that, though travel restrictions due to Covid have made that tougher.