LONDON, United Kingdom, Jan 24- Phil Neville apologised on Wednesday for the sexist tweets that have overshadowed his appointment as the new coach of the England women’s football team.
No sooner had the former Manchester United and England defender been named to his new position on Tuesday then old messages from his Twitter handle @fizzer18 re-appeared.
They included a 2012 post that said: “U women of (sic) always wanted equality until it comes to paying the bills #hypocrites”.
In another post that same year, Neville tweeted: “Morning men couple of hours cricket be4 (before) work sets me up nicely for the day.”
Asked why he had only referred to men in his message, a reply on Neville’s account said: “When I said morning men I thought the women would of been busy preparing breakfast/getting kids ready/making the beds-sorry morning women!”
Neville, 41, appeared to delete his Twitter account after the comments were re-published.
– ‘Not a true reflection’ –
In a statement issued Wednesday by his employers at England’s Football Association, Neville said: “Following comments made a number of years ago I would like to clarify that they were not and are not a true and genuine reflection of either my character or beliefs, and would like to apologise.
“I am fully aware of my responsibilities as the England Women’s head coach and am immensely proud and honoured to have been given the role. I am now looking forward to the future and will work tirelessly to try and help bring success to the team.”
Neville has also faced flak for a lack of previous experience coaching in the women’s game, although he has enjoyed brief stints in the backroom staffs of Manchester United, England men’s Under-21s and Spanish club Valencia.
The Women’s Sports Trust have questioned his credentials, saying: “We are also saddened by Phil Neville’s historical tweets and the lack of comment about this from the FA.”
The WST also highlighted concerns over how the FA had come to select Neville as the successor to Mark Sampson, who was sacked in September over allegations of misconduct in a previous role and amid a racism row that led to widespread criticism of senior FA officials.
– ‘Parachuted’ –
It said it was “disappointed at the apparent lack of transparency and process in the appointment of Phil Neville as the new manager for the England women’s football team.
“Our national women’s team deserve the very best coach available to fulfil their enormous potential and inspire millions of men and women.
“To see a high-profile, former professional footballer virtually parachuted into such a significant role in football without the level of experience required, undermines the coaching pathway and will be a blow to hundreds of football coaches, both male and female, currently working towards their badges at all levels.”
Chelsea Ladies manager Emma Hayes ruled herself out of the England job contention by signing a new long-term contract with the Women’s Super League side.