Sarina Wiegman: England manager ‘has no plans to leave’ role

Sarina Wiegman says she has “no plans to leave” her job as England manager and intends to see out the rest of her contract, which lasts until 2025.

Wiegman, who will lead England in Sunday’s Women’s World Cup final, has been touted as a candidate for the USA job after Vlatko Andonovski’s exit .

Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham said any approaches for Wiegman would be “100% rejected” .

“I’m really enjoying my job,” said Wiegman, who joined in September 2021.

“I have the impression that people still like me doing the job. I have no plans to leave. I’m staying out of [speculation regarding the USA job]. I’ve heard it.

“I’m with England, I’m really happy with England and I have a contract until 2025.”

Since arriving in England Wiegman has won four trophies – the Euro 2022 title, two Arnold Clark Cups and the Women’s Finalissima.

She is the first coach to take two countries to a World Cup final, having led the Netherlands there in 2019.

The former Netherlands player said “ambitious and talented people” give her “energy” to keep chasing success.

“What’s really nice for example is Katie Zelem. In April, I wanted to try out other things and then she came back in and makes the World Cup squad,” added Wiegman.

“She [then] plays a very good game against China [in the group stages]. That gives me energy. I could give plenty of examples of that. That’s what I enjoy so much.”

Why it ‘was the time’ to switch to a back three

Millie Bright lifts Sarina Wiegman after beating Australia

Wiegman has praised her players’ adaptability throughout the World Cup, as they have had to deal with injury to midfielder Keira Walsh and a two-match suspension for Lauren James.

Those complications led to a rare change in formation, but England’s switch to a back three has paid off.

“We were trying to find ways to be unpredictable for the opponent. We mentioned it [in April]. At that time the squad had lots of wingers still and we thought ‘no, we will stick with what we want to do,'” said Wiegman.

“In the first two matches we were struggling a little bit. We had moments where we played really well, but we also had moments where we were a little bit vulnerable.

“After the second match, [England assistant manager] Arjan Veurink came to me and said, ‘Sarina let’s sit down, isn’t this the time to go to 3-5-2?’

“I said, ‘you’re completely right, this is the moment that now, with how the squad is built, and the players available, we can get more from the players and their strengths in this shape.’ So we changed it.”

‘It is challenging for me too’

Sarina Wiegman with the Euro 2022 trophy

England’s success in Australia caps off a challenging year personally for Wiegman.

Her sister passed away three weeks before the start of Euro 2022, which the Lionesses won on home soil, and Wiegman celebrated in the final by kissing a bracelet in tribute.

England have since suffered injuries to key players Leah Williamson, top scorer Beth Mead and playmaker Fran Kirby.

“I’m a pretty positive person but of course I also have feelings,” said the 53-year-old.

“Firstly, I feel very privileged to work with this team. You have some setbacks with some players that got injured but then you have to switch and say ‘OK, this is the group of players we think are the best and this is the team now. We are going to go to the World Cup with them.’

“Then of course there are still things in my personal life. When someone passes away who is really close to you, you don’t just say ‘oh it’s two months now, it’s gone.’

“I have strategies but of course sometimes that’s still sad and it is challenging for me too.”

‘Everyone’s talking about 1966’

Sarina Wiegman leads England training in Terrigal

Wiegman has also learned to adapt to English culture.

“English people are very polite and sometimes you go, ‘OK, are you now being polite or are you really saying what you mean?’,” she joked.

She is also aware of England’s “desperation” to win the World Cup for the first time since 1966 and hopes to deliver the trophy with victory over Spain.

“I know it’s there. When we started working in September 2021, I felt that the country was so desperate to win a final in a tournament,” she added.

“Everyone was saying that and the players too. I thought: ‘It’s very real. You want to win it too much…’ So what do we have to do? What do we have to do to win and how can we win?

“To get the results, stop talking about the results because we know what we want. Everyone’s talking about 1966. So let’s be at our best on Sunday and try and be successful.

“Football is so big in England. It’s in the culture. That’s incredible to experience. It’s so big. It’s everywhere. That’s pretty cool too.”

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