Phil Neville boosted the profile of women’s football but a more experienced manager is required to take England to the next level, says former Lionesses goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis.
Neville, 43, is to step down as England women’s manager next summer, though Brown-Finnis says he should leave now.
She told BBC Sport: ”Stepping down now I think would be right thing to do.
“He did have a brilliant effect on the profile of women’s football. But we need the next level now.”
Chelsea boss Emma Hayes, Manchester United’s Casey Stoney and former United States coach Jill Ellis are among the names to be linked with the job.
Brown-Finnis, who made 82 appearances for the Lionesses, says Hayes and Stoney may not have the required experience for the role yet, but someone of Ellis’ profile is the type of candidate the Football Association should be looking at.
The 52-year-old coached the US from 2014 to 2019, winning the World Cup twice.
“They have to cast the net worldwide. Someone who has been there and done it, who has got the experience but is very progressive,” said former Everton and Liverpool player Brown-Finnis.
“Jill Ellis has the best experience as a female manager at the very, very top of the game. Emma Hayes and Casey Stoney have been mentioned – but they are both tied up at clubs.
“They are also both young coaches and have plenty of time in the future to become England managers.
“If Stoney was brought in she the would do an excellent job. She has every capacity to become a top level manager.
“I think she will hesitate – not just because of her work at Manchester United, but I think she would want the best for the team, and if she didn’t feel ready for that she would forsake her opportunity at this time for the betterment of the Lionesses.
“Managers in America are on the front page of newspapers and every form of media, under scrutiny every minute of every single day.
“There are managers out there who understand the media and flourish under the pressure, and that’s what we need now.”
What next for Neville?
Despite thinking Neville should leave the job now, Brown-Finnis believes it was a worthwhile appointment.
She also thinks the ex-England defender will become a better coach for the experience.
Neville, a former Manchester United and Everton player, was appointed in January 2018 on a contract until the summer of 2021. He led the Lionesses to a first SheBelieves Cup success and a fourth-place finish at the World Cup in 2019.
“He was a left-field appointment, but he has had a positive effect on the squad and women’s football in general. It brought it to the forefront of people’s minds,” said Brown-Finnis.
“He will have learned a hell of a lot. He’s coached in football before – not a huge amount, but he went through the schooling of [former Manchester United manager] Sir Alex Ferguson.
“It has given him an understanding that it’s not quite as simple to go from playing to passing those things on. And there are differences to coaching men and coaching women.
“So he will be a much more well-rounded coach from this experience and will put him in a better place moving forwards.”