Famous tactical journalist Michael Cox made a bold thesis in “The Athletic” – Sarina Wiegman should replace Gareth Southgate in the English men’s team after the World Cup in Qatar. The women’s national team squad is a cult figure of women’s soccer in the world, taking the position of national team coach to a new, higher level. This raises the question of whether there is really a place for women’s coaching in men’s soccer.
A revolutionary idea in England
Southgate contracted with the FA for euro 2024, but a poor result in the World Cup in Qatar could prompt union officials to terminate the deal prematurely. After withdrawing from the elite of the League of Nations, the English have the right to fear success in the tournament. Southgate himself, quoting Michael Cox, said that “Contracts don’t matter in football. If they’re not good enough, you accept it’s time to say goodbye.”
But who will invite the FA next? Instead of looking for the next English on the job or someone out of the world unemployed, he could turn the world of football upside down and hire the aforementioned Wiegman. This could be a step towards a revolution in football.
Bookmakers do not consider this at all, they have other favorites – Eddie Howe from Newcastle United and Graham Potter, who recently took charge of Chelsea. The “athlete” indicates the potential weaknesses and shortcomings of the other candidates: the English are Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Sean Dycke or Steve Cooper, and other names are Mauricio Pochettino, Brendan Rodgers or Thomas Tuchel. But all of them either lack experience, or it is not possible to bring them down (because the best coaches focus more on club football).
Hence a bold choice. If England are looking to win Euro 2024, the good news is that they are already hiring a two-time European Championship winner who has won all 12 matches. Meanwhile, they have been promoted to the World Cup Final. On paper, he’s fully qualified. Only she is a woman
He writes “athlete”. But Sarena Weigman’s biography contains more significant achievements than any other potential candidate. Yes, you have trained footballers, but is this a gap compared to the transition from club football to international football, as with other national teams? Should we transcend the regular successes in women’s football when other options are so flawed? Cox writes.
Wegmann has arguments
Aside from the aforementioned victories in the European Women’s Championship (with two different domestic teams, which no one has managed to achieve before), Wiegman will not have to make the leap from club football to the national team. She is already accustomed to the rhythm of the work of the chosen one. The only thing that will change is the dates – the women’s teams did not coincide with the representation of the men.
According to Cox and “The Athletic”, Southgate has a culture of working outside the match – building atmosphere, relations with the media and cooperation with the staff. However, Wiegman reacts best to events on the field, especially since he has a nose for change. For almost the entire women’s Euro, I used the same substitutes, and one of them scored the decisive goal in the final. To this day, Southgate remembers the bench disappointed in the 2018 World Cup semi-finals with Croatia and the recent European Championship final with Italy.
Does the risk pay off?
By treating male and female manager positions on the same level, and looking at both personal and psychological skills, Wiegman is entitled to compete for a position on the men’s team. However, it has been said many times that the level of football for males and females is completely different. There is a difference in the intensity and physicality of the game and its pace, not to mention the quality and approach to tactics. Therefore, there is a risk that men’s football, while inspiring coaches around the world, may be too high and that England under Wegman will fall behind.
Besides – what will happen to the women’s team? Where would you go if Wegman lost? The FA could do significant damage to the England squad by changing the Dutch position.
It’s not the first
Wigman wouldn’t be the first woman to lead the men’s soccer team after her women’s soccer adventure. In 2021, Helen Lorraine Nkwocha worked with TB Tvoroyri from the Faroe Islands. It only lasted for a month. I lost all six matchesWhere she led the team. She was the first woman to coach a male team at the highest national level in Europe.
On the Old Continent, the French Clermont wanted to maintain a certain continuity in women’s work. When the club played in Ligue 2, the team was initially led by Helena Costa (2013/2014 season), and then for three years by Corinne Diacre, who later took over the leadership of the French team.
In Asia, this path was previously paved by Yuen Ting Chan from the East FC He won the Hong Kong Championship in the 2016/201 season.
It happened to men, too. John Herdman won the Olympic bronze twice with the Canadians, and also reached the World Championships quarter-finals. He captained the men’s team and lifted the Canadians to the World Cup for the first time since 1986.
Is it about gender equality?
People associated with women’s football earn much less than those associated with men’s teams. The reason is simple – in terms of marketing, women’s football has still less potential than men’s, even if everything has been done to take women’s teams and games to the next level.
Of course, there is also an effort to equalize the gains of men and women, but the fight for that will likely continue for many years to come.
The potential employment of Wiegman will be a milestone on the road to equal opportunity and gender equality in football. Even if you’re not the first coach, she could be assigned to Southgate’s staff as an assistant. England can become a kind of pioneer of fashion. The appreciation of the women’s football community will show that it is worth taking a look there and attracting people with knowledge, potential and willing to develop.
The Athletic pointed out that Wigmann will be discriminated against in the first place – if Phil Neville joins or succeeds Southgate’s crew, who has been replaced by the Dutch woman in the women’s squad.
Cox points out something else:
If Wigman’s predecessor, Phil Neville, was the one who led the English women to their Euro 2022 victory, people wouldn’t mind him working with Southgate or even considering him as his successor. If this is not the case with Wiegman, then there is a distinction. But it’s not really about gender equality. The point is, if you wanted to succeed in international football, hiring someone made more sense than someone who never had a national team or never had a national team. There is nothing strange about this.
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