Hinderwell hotshot Mead hopes new Lionesses chief shows same belief as Phil Neville has

Whitby’s Beth Mead admits she was surprised when Phil Neville’s intentions to step down as manager of the England Lionesses were announced.

Tuesday, 5th May 2020, 11:16 am
Whitby's Beth Mead. Picture: Getty Images

Arsenal forward Mead has enjoyed a fruitful time in an England shirt under the stewardship of former Manchester United and Everton man Neville and admits she’ll be sad to see him step down when his contract ends in July 2021.

“Myself and a lot of the girls get on very well with Phil and from the way he’d been talking, we were very surprised when we were told he’d be stepping down,” said Mead.

“I speak regularly with him and didn’t really expect him to step down, but I suppose with the situation with the European Championships being moved back to 2022, he’s decided it’s the right time next year.”

Mead admits she doesn’t mind whether Neville’s replacement is male or female - she only hopes the new incumbent shows the same faith in her as the current coach has done.

“I suppose it would be nice to see female coaches given opportunities at the top of the women’s game, but in truth I don’t really mind if the new coach is male or female - I just hope they show the same faith in me that Phil has and can help take my game to a new level,” added Mead.

The former Sunderland hot-shot was tempted to return to her home town of Whitby to spend time with her family while the government’s restrictions are in place due to the coronavirus outbreak.

However, she’s remained based in St Alban’s, North London, with housemate and teammate, Holland international Danielle van de Donk.

The pair are both undergoing rehab from their respective injuries and access to club equipment, coaches and facilities meant she decided to stay in London.

“I was tempted to come back home to Whitby but I need access to fitness equipment and it’s just easier to do my rehab here,” Mead said.

“It’s helpful that we’re both doing the same rehab and are on similar plans from the club.

“Hopefully once action gets back under way, whenever that might be, we should both be back to full fitness, which is a big boost as I have missed playing football so much.

“I can’t see us getting much playing time any time soon, although if the season is scrapped now then Arsenal will suffer as we won’t qualify for the Champions League, Man City will win the league and were also still in the FA Cup and Champions League.”

Mead is also keeping a close eye on the fortunes of Whitby Town FC during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I keep a close eye on things that are going on at Whitby Town as I am club ambassador now so I want them to do well and come through this crisis,” added Mead.