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Hope Powell would consider coaching men's team

By Alistair Magowan

Hope Powell
I'm not stepping down now, but 11 years is a long time and a fresh face would help

Hope Powell on her future

England women's coach Hope Powell says she would consider managing a men's team in the future.

In October it was claimed Powell was in the running for the manager's post at Grimsby that would have made her the first woman to run a league outfit.

Dismissing the story as "lies" the 43-year-old told BBC Sport: "If an opportunity presented itself of course I would have a look.

"But for now I'm very happy where I am and no such offer has been made."

Speculation went into overdrive when it was reported in a local newspaper that Powell was seen coming out of a restaurant together with Grimsby Town chairman John Fenty.

It would have been easy for Powell to be angry with the false claim, also denied by Grimsby, but she said she took it as a compliment that her name was mentioned.

The prospect of her making the historic move was supported by League Managers' Association chief executive Richard Bevan.

"Firstly, there was no truth in it, it was just a rumour," Powell told BBC Sport. "Whoever decided to spread that rumour I have no idea. When you're associated with it people make such a big deal.

"I guess I was flattered but do I want to work in men's football? Not necessarily, I just want to be involved in football and at the moment I'm passionate about women's football."

If any club was considering a move for the former England international now would represent a good time to make enquiries.

Powell, who was the first woman to gain the Uefa Pro coaching Licence, has been in charge of the England women's team for 11 years, and, having guided the team to the European Championship final earlier this year, has said she is ready for a new challenge.

She has expressed an interest in a move upstairs as a newly created women's performance director at the Football Association.

But Powell is still waiting to hear about that position and while she makes no secret of her intention to move on, she is guarded about when that might happen.

"Eleven years is a long time," she said. "I'm not stepping down now, but obviously looking further ahead it's a long time and a fresh face would help.

"I just think that some of the skills that I've picked up over the years, the stuff that I've learned and can reinvest lower down would help to close the gap between the domestic level and international level."

Hope Powell
For me it just about the game and how you approach the game. Coaching is what I do, male or female

England women's coach Hope Powell

Powell has overseen what has been a momentous year for the England women's team.

Not only did the senior side reach their first final in 25 years, despite being beaten 6-2 by Germany, but the under-19s, coached by Mo Marley, went a step further by defeating Sweden in their European Championship.

Powell also lobbied hard to secure central contracts for the senior side giving them crucial financial help to avoid waking up at difficult hours to train before work.

In addition she has been central to consultations with clubs to get the, now deferred, women's Super League up and running by 2011.

Its delay, explained as a cost-cutting measure by the FA, has been a blow to Powell and it has led to several England players, including Kelly Smith and Eniola Aluko, signing for professional teams in the United States.

While she can understand the reasons why they would want to "have a ball at their feet every day", Powell explains that it will not only cause logistical problems for England's 2011 World Cup qualification matches, but also jeopardise whether the players will return to England when the Super League begins.

"It's a shame that we didn't launch it in 2010, it would have been interesting to see if as many players would have gone to America," she said.

"The fact that many players are based out in America means there will be some conflict. We have a good relationship with clubs and it just needs to continue.

"If we've got so many players out there it might just be cheaper for us to go to the States for training camps than bring all those players back but we'll see."

Powell still has a burning desire to put September's European Championship defeat behind her.

"I'm not sure I'll ever get over it to be honest," she said. "You're so close and then so far when you go into to a final like that so I was bitterly disappointed, really proud, but bitterly disappointed.

"Until we actually win I don't think I will get over it to be honest."

The prospect of Powell being in charge when the next World Cup comes around looks unlikely, but with other avenues sure to present themselves she is not ruling out anything.

"For me it just about the game and how you approach the game. Coaching is what I do, male or female."

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see also
Powell denies Grimsby connection
22 Oct 09 |  Grimsby
Powell may leave England position
04 Jun 09 |  Women
Chapman completes Chicago switch
02 Dec 09 |  Women
England 2-6 Germany
10 Sep 09 |  Women

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