The former Chelsea goalkeeper featured just once under former England manager Phil Neville during the 2018 SheBelieves Cup

Phil Neville managed England during the 2019 Women's World Cup

Phil Neville managed England during the 2019 Women’s World Cup

Former Lioness Siobhan Chamberlain has claimed Sarina Wiegmam’s respect towards players has been pivotal to the Lionesses’ success - after Phil Neville’s comparative lack of honesty in the role.

Neville was appointed manager of England women in January 2018, leading the Lionesses to the semi-finals of the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France after overseeing a victorious SheBelieves Cup campaign earlier that year.

Yet following the World Cup run, Neville’s England struggled to capitalise and losses to the reigning world champions United States and Spain made it seven defeats in 11 games, the team’s worst stretch since 2003. Pressure subsequently mounted upon Neville who admitted he was personally responsible for England’s “unacceptable” form amid increased media scrutiny.

And Chamberlain, who featured only once during Neville’s tenure, has branded the former manager’s apparent dearth in honesty with players as problematic and contributory to Neville becoming “unstuck” in the role.

“I have to choose my words wisely, but my relationship with him [Phil Neville] wasn’t particularly good,” Chamberlain told Ladbrokes. “I didn’t feel I was given honesty from him whenever I asked questions about my future, and where I was at.”

The former Chelsea and Liverpool goalkeeper added: “Respect is so important, but you want honesty as well; it’s such an important trait in your manager. And if they’re telling you one thing, but doing something different, then it’s always going to be hard to take.”

Chamberlain earned her 50th cap for England during the 2018 SheBelieves Cup but failed to earn a call-up under Neville following the campaign. And while the ex-Lioness recognised managers and players are entitled to contrary opinions, she underscored the importance of honesty.

“If I get told that I’m not playing because someone doesn’t think I’m good enough, or because I’m not playing regularly, then you can’t argue with that,” she said.

Siobhan Chamberlain has said Phil Neville lacked honesty while managing England Siobhan Chamberlain has called out Phil Neville’s lack of honesty while managing England (


Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

“You might not like it, but it’s their decision; it’s fine. But if they tell you ‘you need to do this’ or ‘you need to do that’ but then go back on what they’ve said, that’s when it’s a bit hard to take. And that’s when I think, as a manager, you start to become a little unstuck.”

Neville departed the England set-up six months before the expiration of his contract as he took charge of David Beckham’s MLS franchise Inter Miami. The 43-year-old had been due to leave his England role in July 2021, with then Netherlands Women head coach Sarina Wiegman taking over in September of that year.

Wiegman led the Lionesses to a first-ever major tournament triumph during last summer’s European Championships and since taking over has been credited with inculcating the squad with a raw and confident synergy that had been missing previously.

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And Chamberlain suggested that the Dutch manager’s approach is in stark contrast to that of her predecessor.

“In all areas, everything I’ve heard about Sarina [Wiegman] has been positive,” Chamberlain said. “She’s honest, she respects her players, and has open conversations with them so everyone knows where they’re at. That goes a long way towards a united dressing room.”

Wiegman’s frankness has been hailed by a number of former and current England players, including last summer’s Golden Boot and player of the tournament winner Beth Mead who stated that respect and honesty were two attributes that had grown in tandem since Wiegman’s arrival.

“We trust now that what we say to each other is for the best and that it won’t go outside the group – it’s become easy to speak to each other,” Mead said before last year’s Euro2022 final triumph over Germany.

England embark on their 2023 Women’s World Cup campaign without Mead as they take on Haiti in their opening group stage match on Saturday morning. The European champions are one of the favourites heading into the tournament.