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Published 17 January 2022 4 min read

Mo Marley on how Sarina Wiegman is already making her mark

Written by:

Frank Smith

It is hoped the England women's under-23 team will help develop young players and assist them in making the step up to senior level

Mo Marley believes England Women’s head coach Sarina Wiegman is already having a positive impact on the next generation of players.

In 2020 Marley retired from her role as England women’s under-19 coach, seemingly bringing an end to her 25-year involvement with the FA as a player and then coach.

But with the FA and Wiegman keen to introduce an England women’s under-23 team following the Dutch coach’s arrival in September, Marley was asked to return to the pitches at St. George’s Park once again, this time on a consultancy basis.

Marley, who in 2020 was described by the FA’s Director of Women’s Football Sue Campbell as ‘a true pioneer within the women's game’, oversaw a couple of WU23s camps in October and November, which also included a 1-0 victory in Belgium and an emphatic 11-0 win at home to Estonia.

And speaking after November’s impressive performance against Estonia, Marley said: “Sarina is strong in nurturing young players and working with what is next, as well as her priority of now, which is working with the current senior team.

“It has been really refreshing for the under-23 players because in both camps, she has come up, she is present and she is live. She has been in and around the sessions so every day the players have had a chance to show their own personal development.”

Sarina Wiegman has a 100 per cent record as England Women's head coach
Sarina Wiegman has a 100 per cent record as England Women's head coach

She continued: “I think it is hard when you are a young player and you don’t know and have never met the top [level of management]. I think it is almost like you are guessing if you are making that connection. 

“But the fact she is present, means I can reassure the players that the technical team and the information is joined up. It is the plan. It is the how we play across the board and is consistent with the information that the senior players have had since Sarina has come onboard, and they can tell from the language that I am using and the changes, that the pathway is consistent and it is joined up and connected.”

As a player, Marley earned 41 caps, captained England at the 2001 European Championships and was also skipper as Everton won the FA Women’s Premier League title in 1998.

She became Everton boss in 2002 and achieved great success during her ten years in charge, which came alongside several roles at the FA.

Whilst still a player, Marley was appointed as assistant coach under the mentorship of Hope Powell in 1998, before becoming WU19 head coach in 2000.

She guided WU19 to the UEFA U19 EURO title in 2009, as well as three silver medals, and was also in charge when WU20 won bronze at the FIFA U20 World Cup in 2018.

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Marley had also been interim manager of the England women’s senior team during 2017-18, before opting to return to her role as a professional development coach to focus on player development.

Her impressive CV means Marley had already crossed paths with England Women’s head coach Wiegman, who also had successful playing career with Netherlands and had been involved with her national team’s coaching set-up for several years before joining the Lionesses in September.

Marley said: “We have obviously crossed paths on our travels before through the international age groups and she is great. She is really open, really refreshing. 

“She believes that as the current Under-23 coach, it is integral that I am in the weekly meetings from a senior perspective, so I can see player assessments for the seniors and the youth players. 

“We are all abreast of what is actually happening so it is great.

“It is great to be exposed to different thinking and shared experiences. It is refreshing as a coach and we get to talk lots about football, which is great!"