Wiegman’s England success shows female coaches deserve a chance

Sarina Wiegman's success with England shows female coaches are deserving of further opportunities, says former Italy boss Carolina Morace.

Wiegman led the Lionesses to their first major tournament triumph at Euro 2022 before overseeing this year's run to the World Cup final in Australia and New Zealand, where they were beaten 1-0 by Spain.

She has earned plenty of plaudits since succeeding Phil Neville in the role in 2021, only losing two of her 39 matches at the helm (30 wins, seven draws) and overseeing a positive World Cup campaign despite injuries to key players including Leah Williamson and Beth Mead.

While the 2023 World Cup featured 32 teams for the first time, Wiegman was one of just 12 female head coaches present at the tournament. 

Morace wants to see football associations judge potential bosses on their competence rather than their gender, acknowledging the dominance of men at governing bodies is an issue.

Asked about the number of promising female coaches in the game, Morace told Stats Perform: "I'll answer you one way. Sarina Weigman inherited the [England] team from Phil Neville with the same players who had unfortunately achieved nothing under Phil Neville. 

"With her, they have reached the maximum. There are good, excellent female coaches and excellent male coaches. 

"You need to have the intellectual honesty to choose based on competence, to choose coaches who have not always been sent away from men's teams and who don't know the world of women's football. It is obvious they will also fail in women's football.

"I believe there are many good coaches who must be valued. Unfortunately, it is always men who choose, for whom it takes a little bit of effort [to recruit women]."

Morace is one of few female coaches with notable experience in the men's game, having led Italian third-tier outfit Viterbese at the start of her coaching career in 1999 – albeit for just two games.

She felt a higher turnover of coaches in the men's game made players more receptive to her methods, adding: "Coaching men is easier. When you coach a men's team, you coach boys who come from an early age and played in all the youth teams and have changed a lot of coaches. 

"You find them more ready [for change] than a girl who may have had two coaches or three coaches in her career.

"Perhaps today we can say that the little girls start from the same point as the boys. Before, it wasn't like that."

While Morace does not have an issue with male coaches working in women's football, she maintains the best candidates must be given chances regardless of their gender.

"It is one thing is to coach a national team," she said. "When you arrive in the national team, you have the World Cup, the Olympics which absolutely have another value [in the women's game]. 

"But now the men who are unable to enter the men's game look to the women, but they do it after seeing the stadiums full at the World Cup, it becomes very desired by them too. 

"Competence is much more important. I coached the Italian national team, the Canadian national team. For me, it was much more important than coaching the professional men's team in the third division."