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Women's Football Brown-Finnis praises Riise’s ‘freshness’

HEGE RIISE being brought into the England Women set-up has been welcomed by former Lioness Rachel Brown-Finnis, who believes that the Norwegian will provide much-needed freshness.

The Football Association announced on Tuesday that Riise will lead the team’s camp next month after head coach Phil Neville, having previously been due to leave the role in July at the end of his contract, quit with immediate effect to take charge at Inter Miami.

Riise and former Canada international Rhian Wilkinson have been appointed to the England coaching staff on short-term contracts, with the FA to review things regarding the interim head coach role – and somebody managing a Great Britain team at this summer’s delayed Olympics – after the February camp.

Holland boss Sarina Wiegman is set to start as Neville’s permanent successor in September.

Riise helped Norway win the World Cup, European Championship and Olympic gold during a playing career featuring 188 caps, before working as United States assistant boss and then manager of LSK Kvinner.

The 51-year-old enters the England fold with the team having not played an international since last March, when a disappointing SheBelieves Cup campaign left them with a record of seven losses in their last 11 games.

Brown-Finnis, who played against Riise during her 82-cap England career, told said: “I guess what England needed was an interim coach and someone maybe who comes with fresh buoyancy, because I think that is what is needed for this next few months, to lift the squad.

“They’ve had no competitive fixtures for a long time, just in-house camps [scheduled friendlies in October and December were cancelled for coronavirus-related reasons].

“I think it will be a complete kind of landscape change for the girls, a whole different way of thinking and operating, and that’ll freshen things up, which is what has been really, really needed.

“I’m very happy with Hege Riise coming in. I think it has become stagnant over the last 12 months, and that’s not all because of Phil Neville, there are so many different factors.

“I can imagine the girls will have been going to camp and in some ways be on autopilot. It’s the nature of not having competitive fixtures.”

England’s three years under Neville included coming fourth in the 2019 World Cup and winning the SheBelieves Cup earlier that year.

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