Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro has admitted it would be an ‘amazing privilege’ if England were to approach him to replace Phil Neville – but says he is ‘very happy’ in his current role with the Gunners.
The FA announced late last month that Neville will be stepping down when his contract expires in July 2021, and Montemurro – one of the most respected managers in the women’s game at present – has been one of an extensive list of names in the frame, including Chelsea manager Emma Hayes, Neville’s number two Bev Priestman and former USWNT coach Jill Ellis.
The Australian joined Arsenal in 2017, and last season led them to their first Women’s Super League title since 2012. Montemurro’s side sit third after 15 matches this campaign, four points off leaders Manchester City, having played a game fewer.
“I don’t know whether there would be a serious approach — there are some amazing local coaches that probably deserve an opportunity before me,” Montemurro said in an interview with the Evening Standard, when asked about the England job.
“If I were to be asked, it would be an amazing honour. To have the privilege of taking a great nation with some great players — a nation that will be challenging for World Cups and Euros and the top tournaments — would be an incredible honour.
“I’m very happy at Arsenal. I’m loving what I’m doing and it’s always very difficult to think of something that’s not there, but it would be an amazing privilege.”
As much as he might consider succeeding Neville if the opportunity arose, however, Montemurro admitted he was surprised the incumbent boss wasn’t given the opportunity to lead his side into the Euros in 2022.
The competition was due to take place in 2021, in the final four weeks of the manager’s contract, but was moved back a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I was shocked [and] a little bit confused as to why there hasn’t been a real push to keep him there and extend his contract, at least until the Euros,” Montemurro went on.
Joe Montemurro believes there will inevitably be a second wave of the virus and says the players should have a leading role in deciding when it is safe to return.
?️ “We should be asking the players if they feel safe going back. They’re the ones in the physical contact.” pic.twitter.com/BBi4rFkY7D
— miedemastuff ⚽️ (@miedemastuff) May 11, 2020
“I really think Phil has been doing a great job. What I’ve really liked is that he’s looked at a whole group of new players coming through. He’s built some fantastic foundations. What I get from the players at Arsenal, coming back from the England camp, is that there’s a real identity and a real love for playing for the national team.
“They all come back with a great enthusiasm for representing their country. I think he’s been able to instil a culture, but more importantly the way they play is really exciting.”
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