The news that every England fan was waiting for came on Tuesday when it was announced that Sarina Wiegman had signed a much anticipated contract extension. It is a deal that will see her remain as Head Coach of the Lionesses through to the end of the 2027 FIFA Women’s World Cup, including next year’s European Championships and the following Nations League campaign. Her assistant Arjan Veurink has also extended his stay.

Wiegman took over the Lionesses in September 2021 and guided her side to immediate success – a European Championships win in 2022 and World Cup Final the following year. Having missed out on the Olympics with Team GB, she will now prepare England for European qualifying. Should all go to plan, preparations will then start for Euro 2025 which is to be held in Switzerland next July.

Following the news, Wiegman and the FA’s CEO Mark Bullingham sat down with the media. Here are FIVE key comments that emerged from the press conference:

On Wiegman being the best international coach + being rewarded accordingly

Mark Bullingham: “It is fantastic news. In our mind, she is the best international coach in the women’s game… Sarina has built a great team, and a great support team around her and I’m sure she’d be the first to give tribute to them. But from our point of view, we think it starts with the leader. She is the leader of the Lionesses.””

We think having Sarina helps us to have the best possible chance to win more tournaments, and also drive more growth in the game… We’re fortunate to have two fantastic coaches of our senior teams… Under them, we’d like to say the impossible job has never seemed more possible.”

“What I would say [on pay] is that we see Sarina as the number one coach in the world in the women’s game and we think that she’s paid accordingly.”

 

Sarina Wiegman, Lionesses

 

On the timing of the contract extension:

Mark Bullingham: “I was never too worried, because we have had lots of positive conversations and we were always really clear that whatever felt like the best time for Sarina to turn positive conversations into legal discussions that we would do that. She felt it was the right time after the World Cup. We did that and it was a really seamless discussion. I was obviously delighted that she chose to carry on and formalise that, but I think we have had good discussions for some time.”

Sarina Wiegman: “I am in the moment right now and I am really enjoying this job. It is very challenging and I still see that we can improve a lot. That’s what I like. So no, I didn’t have doubts. I just want to stay around a little longer, and I hope we do well and stay successful.”

 

On motivation to continue with the Lionesses:

Sarina Wiegman: “I’m motivated anyway. Of course this [losing] motivates me too. We had that disappointment in the World Cup. We also won silver but we always want more. It’s very hard. Playing finals is not easy.

I think we’ve done very well but you always want more. [We want to] grow the game and help players in their development. We still have very good connections and I see lots of growth in this team.

I think we can go further. We also know that the world around us is improving a lot. We have to be at the top of our game and I really like these challenges.”

 

Sarina Wiegman, Lionesses

 

On avoiding stagnation:

Sarina Wiegman: “These players are so competitive and so eager to win. We have two big tournaments coming up and I’m not scared that things will slow down. Everyone needs to be at the top of the game. Players have to stay at the top of the game. Players have to develop. The competition in our team is really high and it’s very hard to come into the squad and then stay. That’s what we are working on all the time and what we tell them all the time too.”

“I’m not going to change myself. If I try to change myself, then it’s not authentic. What I’m trying to do is be authentic but improve myself all the time. That’s the same with the players. They want to develop themselves and I try to develop myself too.”

 

On whether anyone approached Wiegman

Mark Bullingham: “No one was brave enough to ask. We didn’t receive any approaches for her. I think we made it really clear that we wouldn’t entertain any, so we didn’t get any.”

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