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Hege Riise to be part of Team GB coaching team at Tokyo Olympics

The former Norway star was last month put in charge of England Women on a temporary basis.

The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to take place from July 23 to August 8 (Adam Davy/PA).
The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to take place from July 23 to August 8 (Adam Davy/PA).

Hege Riise is set to either manage or be assistant boss of Great Britain’s team at the Tokyo Olympics this summer, the Football Association has said.

The former Norway star was last month put in charge of England Women on a temporary basis following head coach Phil Neville’s departure to take the reins at Inter Miami.

The FA at that point said it would assess the situation regarding a Team GB manager – a job Neville had been in line for prior to his exit – after England’s February get-together.

The FA's Baroness Sue Campbell says Hege Riise will go to Tokyo as Team GB head coach or assistant boss (Steven Paston/PA).
The FA’s Baroness Sue Campbell says Hege Riise will go to Tokyo as Team GB head coach or assistant boss (Steven Paston/PA).

And on Friday, the FA’s director of women’s football Baroness Sue Campbell said: “All the messages we’re getting is that there will be an Olympics and women’s football will be part of it.

“As yet we haven’t made the decision on who will be the head coach of Team GB, we will make those decisions after the February camp.

“We’ve got the camps planned ready for Team GB. We’ve got two camps and a match already planned out.

“Hege will go – if she doesn’t go as head coach, she will go as assistant coach. That is for certain.

Riise won the World Cup, European Championship and Olympic gold with Norway as a player (Jon Buckle/PA).
Riise won the World Cup, European Championship and Olympic gold with Norway as a player (Jon Buckle/PA).

“We have to submit the staffing list at the beginning of March, so we’ll have to be pretty clear at that point on all of the issues we want to take forward.”

Following her appointment to the England coaching staff in January along with ex-Canada international Rhian Wilkinson, Riise – winner of the World Cup, European Championship and Olympic gold during her playing career – will oversee three Lionesses camps: this month’s, one in April and one in June.

On Thursday, the FA announced the team are to host friendlies against Northern Ireland at St George’s Park on February 23 and then Canada at a yet-to-be-determined venue in April.

The permanent successor to Neville, who stepped down on January 18 having previously been set to do so in July at the end of his contract, will be Holland boss Sarina Wiegman.

Riise is overseeing England as interim head coach before Sarina Wiegman (pictured) takes charge (Ricard Sellers/PA).
Riise is overseeing England as interim head coach before Sarina Wiegman (pictured) takes charge (Ricard Sellers/PA).

She is due to start work in September, having managed the Dutch at the Games, which are scheduled to take place from July 23 to August 8 after being postponed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The clash with Kenny Shiels’ Northern Ireland will be England’s first international since March 2019, with friendlies against Germany in October and Norway in December having been cancelled.

Campbell said: “We’ve been through quite a bit of upheaval, but we are very much back on course and heading into the February camp positively.

“Hege and Rhian have settled well. They’re already working every day on camp preparation with (the FA’s head of women’s technical) Kay Cossington.

“We’ve got the Northern Ireland game. We had hoped to have Wales as well, but for a number of reasons they can’t make it.

“Certainly it (the Northern Ireland match) will be helpful to us because we have not had a competitive game for some time. We’ve got Canada in April, we’ll welcome Bev (Priestman, the Canada head coach and ex-England assistant boss) back.

“We feel like we’re much better and back on track.

“Hege is our interim head coach until Sarina arrives. Sarina knows her, they are already talking.

“We’ve had enough bumps in the road, we want to kind of level out the road if we can between what happens with Hege and Rhian and what happens with Sarina.

“Kay Cossington is speaking to Sarina very regularly, and we’re trying to make the sure the transition from where we are now through Hege and Rhian and into Sarina is as smooth as possible.”

England will be the host nation at the Euros that have been moved to the summer of 2022.

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