There has been an ongoing structure alignment of the England Women’s pathway throughout 2018, in particular with the national development teams through to the senior squad.
This has involved aligning all the programmes across the development and professional phases, and ensuring that the talent pathway is embedded through the age groups.
We are striving to deliver a developmental and strategic pathway to provide all age groups with appropriate training, learning and competition opportunities to give them every chance of success.
We have paid particular attention to the transition between the youth pathway and senior football, ensuring we that deliver a progressive programme to ready players making the jump from the England development teams to the senior squad.
With the landscape of the women’s game evolving and developing at an incredible pace, it is important to ensure that our pathway continues to move with this. To better prepare our players for our senior national team, we are amalgamating the current Under-23s and U20s squads to form an Under-21s age group, which will become the top of our professional development phase.
In line with ongoing discussions and readiness from fast developing nations across Europe we feel that we have appropriate depth in our talent pool to fulfil this age group.
We see a number of benefits to the England talent pathway:
- Manage individual player development post-U20 World Cup for those who have genuine senior team potential.
- Same FIFA dates as the seniors so we can flex across both programmes in the best interest of the player.
- Maintains the team cohesion and trust working through all the England talent pathway.
- Opportunity to use a small number of over-age players that we feel have senior potential to give appropriate exposure and minutes, or return to play strategies from injuries.
- Falls in line with other European countries and provides an opportunity for an appropriate games programme.
- In a non-U20 World Cup year (bi-annual), we provide a World Cup-type programme to keep the flow and consistency of preparation for England seniors.
The multi-disciplinary team allocated to the Under-23s will move to the Under-21s and Mo Marley will take the position of head coach for the 2018-19 season.
Kay Cossington, The FA’s head of women’s development team and talent, said: “Following a thorough review, we feel the new structure will benefit and improve the England talent pathway.
“We have a strong core of coaching staff who all work tirelessly to ensure our players’ development is paramount and each individual can reach their full potential.
“The new programme aligns with those across Europe and it was vital to ensure this was in place ahead of next summer’s senior World Cup.
“We are all very much looking forward to the season ahead in what is an exciting time for all our age group teams and women’s football as a whole.”
Senior head coach Phil Neville added: “The transition between youth and senior football is so important and with the newly-formed Under-21s age group now top of our professional development phase, I feel very confident we’re all heading in the right direction.
“There's so much depth of talent in the women's game in England and it’s important players are fully prepared and ready to make the step to senior level.
“As we’ve seen in recent months, giving youngsters opportunities is a big part of our wider, long-term plan.
“Mo Marley is a vastly experienced coach who excels at developing young players. We want to build on her success with the U20s in the summer and the opportunity to use a small number of over-age players that we feel have senior potential will also prove beneficial.”
With new Euro qualifying campaigns kicking-off, it’s a big year for two development teams. Led by Rehanne Skinner, the U19s will embark on their qualifying campaign in October, where they will take on Slovakia, Croatia and Malta, as they bid to reach the finals in Scotland next summer.
Meanwhile, head coach Gemma Grainger takes over the U17s as they target the 2019 finals in Bulgaria.
Elsewhere in the professional development phase, there’s a host of crucial training camps and mini-tournaments for Emma Coates and the U18s, including a trip to Florida next month.
Lydia Bedford and John Griffiths will lead the U16s and U15s respectively.
2018-19 coaching set-up summary
- Youth Development Phase:
U15 John Griffiths
U16 Lydia Bedford
U17 Gemma Grainger
- Professional Development Phase:
U18 Emma Coates
U19 Rehanne Skinner
U21 Mo Marley