Phil Neville asks Man United to start women's football team
Phil Neville has urged Manchester United to launch a women's football team after insisting that his former club should be "leaders and pioneers."
Despite the growth of the women's game in England, and the increasing success of the Women's Super League (WSL), United continue to be the only major Premier League club not run a women's team.
Senior figures at Old Trafford have insisted over recent years that their preference is to focus all resources into ensuring that the first-team is successful and have repeatedly rejected calls for the club to take on the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea in the women's game.
But Neville, who made 386 appearances for United during a 10-year playing career at Old Trafford, admitted during his official unveiling as head coach of England Women's team that he will be pushing United to become involved in the WSL.
"I will be encouraging them," Neville said. "I am sure they are in the process of doing it.
"They have a fantastic community programme for female players and coaches, some of the best in the country, and when they do set out their women's team it will be one to challenge City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool.
"I am sure they are working towards that. A club of the size of United should be the leaders, the pioneers. I am sure they are working to do that.
"I have no idea [why United have not launched a women's team]. It's only my assumption, but I am sure they will be working towards that."
United claimed last June that a women's team at Old Trafford was "under review," and on Monday the club confirmed that position again when contacted by ESPN FC.
Mark Ogden is a senior football writer for ESPN FC. Follow him @MarkOgden_