Stanway: England need Wiegman | Women’s game is not a stepping stone

Georgia Stanway says England need to keep the “amazing” and “class” Sarina Wiegman as their manager amid speculation over the Lionesses manager’s future.

Wiegman, who has reached the final of the last four major tournaments she has overseen as manager of both England and the Netherlands, has been strongly linked to the United States job.

The Dutch coach is contracted with the English FA until 2025 and says she will honour that contract, with England midfielder Stanway exclusively telling Sky Sports News the importance of her national team coach.

“We need her. We absolutely need her,” Stanway said. “She has done amazing with what she has done so far, at the Netherlands and here as well.

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Soccer Sunday’s Dean Ashton and Kerys Harrop discuss Wiegman’s immediate future after England fell to World Cup final defeat against Spain

“To be a female coach and paving the way for other female coaches is amazing. To reach four major finals in the last four major tournaments, it’s class.”

Wiegman has also been touted as a potential successor to Gareth Southgate as the manager of the England men’s national team – but Stanway insists the women’s game should not be seen as a stepping stone.

“As female footballers we don’t want the female game to be the stepping stone for the men’s game,” she says. “We want it to be football, and for people to enjoy the fact that we play football and we enjoy it, as do coaches.

“We’re not a stepping stone, we’re trying our best to get women’s game on the map as much as possible and we will continue to break barriers and we will see what we can do.”

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Emma Hayes says the women’s game deserves to have the best coaches and speculation about Wiegman’s future in the men’s game should be put to bed

Stanway on… World Cup final heartbreak

Stanway discussed a host of topics in her conversation with Sky Sports News, including her reaction to England being beaten 1-0 in the Women’s World Cup final against Spain…

“We were beaten by the better team. It makes it okay, but better because we knew the game itself and they were the better team. In the second half, we put them under a lot of pressure but we didn’t score. It was a really proud feeling to come second, but I’m glad I’m still young as another World Cup could be on the cards.

England World Cup second
Image: England finished second at the Women’s World Cup after losing to Spain

“It’s so difficult. The last thing you want to do is be stuck in a triangle when Spain are playing it all around you. I definitely got stuck in a few triangles in the first half. We struggled then, we struggled to get pressure on the ball. They overloaded us centrally and out wide and caused us problems. We couldn’t get pressure on the ball. When we changed to a 4-3-3 at half-time, it was unfortunate we couldn’t get the goal. But that’s Spain’s quality, they can defend as well as pass!

“It helps that the Spanish players are at Barcelona and Real Madrid – the teams who do play tiki-taka and the way the national team play. The benefit that the Lionesses have is we are from many different clubs who play different ways. We are so adaptable and versatile in changing tactics and formations and we bring many different playing styles and personalities.”

Stanway on… the growth of the women’s game

Stanway also spoke about the growth of the women’s game in the wake of this World Cup, which saw the likes of Germany and the United States eliminated early, while teams such as Colombia, Haiti and Nigeria thrived as underdogs…

“We played ourselves into the tournament, as the games went on we got better and better. That’s really important in the tournament. You don’t want to to play our best cards in the first games.

“The teams who didn’t make it out of the group and went home early were the teams who you didn’t expect. So for us as the Lionesses, to get the 1-0 results here and there is really massive and impressive.”

“It’s getting bigger and bigger, it’s getting so much more competitive. It’s a World Cup, you never know what is going to happen. Everyone comes out of the blocks and wants to show off.”

Stanway on… missing England fans at Heathrow

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Stanway has said it was ‘unbelievable’ the amount of fans waiting for the Lionesses at Heathrow and will use social media to thank them

Stanway also addressed criticism aimed at the Lionesses after England fans were not able to meet their heroes at Heathrow Airport upon the squad’s return from Australia…

“We weren’t aware of it. You just get off the plane, onto the coach and then you go. Later in the day we saw messages of there being hundreds and thousands of fans in the airport which was unbelievable.”

Stanway on… Munich advice for Kane!

Harry Kane poses for photographs after signing for Bayern Munich
Image: Harry Kane has joined Stanway as an England international playing for Bayern Munich

Finally, Stanway – who plays her club football with Bayern Munich – gave some advice to England men’s team captain Harry Kane who completed a £100m move to the club from Tottenham earlier this month…

“We will have the same German teacher! But I wish him the best of luck with the language, because I’ve been there for a year but I’m still waiting for that click. The teacher says to me, ‘It will click, it will click’. A year down the line and I’m nowhere near. I wish him the best of luck and hopefully I can get down to the Allianz Arena to watch.

“The city is lovely, the people are lovely, the German culture is so open and welcoming and I’m sure he will feel at home straight away.”

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