Simmons leaps to Powell's defence

Women's football chief Kelly Simmons has defended manager Hope Powell after England's miserable Women's European Championship.

Last Updated: 19/07/13 at 15:47 Post Comment    Bet with SkyBet  What If. Click here to bet.

Hope Powell: Questions raised over her future as England coach

Hope Powell: Questions raised over her future as England coach

The Three Lionesses suffered an embarrassing early exit in Sweden, just as the men's under-20 and under-21 sides did at major competitions this summer.

Last night's 3-0 defeat to France saw England finish bottom of Group C and has led to serious questions over the future of manager Powell.

At the helm for 15 years, the 46-year-old led the national team to runners-up spot at Euro 2009 and then the World Cup quarter-finals two years later.

However, that success has been overshadowed by this summer's poor display, leading the likes of former England players Faye White and Sue Smith to question whether Powell should remain in charge

Smith suggested Under-19s manager Mo Marley or Canada coach John Herdman would be suitable replacements, but Simmons, the Football Association's director of the national game and women's football, does not think change is needed.

"Hope has been phenomenal," she told the BBC.

"There's bound to be criticism of managers when results don't go your way but you've got to put it into context that while it's really disappointing, it's three games.

"Under Hope's leadership we went from not qualifying for any tournaments to a record sixth in the world in 2011, and in the last 16 months coming in we were undefeated.

"What Hope has done for the game is absolutely phenomenal."

While Powell may be under scrutiny, her players have been quick to accept the blame.

England winger Karen Carney and defender Alex Scott both apologised via Twitter for letting people down, while forward Kelly Smith admitted "we just weren't good enough from start to finish and didn't deserve 2 progress".

Captain Casey Stoney was another to front up for England's display in Scandinavia.

"I can't say it was through lack of effort," she told www.thefa.com. "We tried our hardest but France were better

"All I can do is apologise. It just wasn't our tournament. We will go away and reflect but we need to bounce back as we have World Cup qualifiers soon.

"We never got going. Personally I am gutted for the girls and the supporters. We always try but we did not have enough quality and never hit the ground running.

"I feel I was not good enough either. We need to analyse what to do and work harder at our clubs. This is not good enough.

"It wasn't for us this tournament. They had blistering pace up front and it caught us out at times.

"They are a good side and have not been tipped to win it for nothing. They could go on and win it now."


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