Under-fire new England women’s boss Neville sorry for sexist tweets

Phil Neville apologised yesterday for the sexist tweets that have overshadowed his appointment as the new manager of the England women's football team.

No sooner had the former Manchester United and England defender been named to his new position on Tuesday than old messages from his Twitter handle @fizzer18 re-appeared.

One post from 2012 said: "U women of (sic) always wanted equality until it comes to paying the bills #hypocrites".

In another post that year, Neville tweeted: "Morning men couple of hours cricket be4 (before) work sets me up nicely for the day."

Asked why he had referred only to men in his message, a reply on Neville's account said: "When I said morning men I thought the women would of been busy preparing breakfast/getting kids ready/making the beds-sorry morning women!"

Neville, 41, appeared to delete his Twitter account after the comments were re-published.

In a statement issued yesterday by his employers at England's Football Association, Neville said: "Following comments made a number of years ago I would like to clarify that they were not and are not a true and genuine reflection of either my character or beliefs, and would like to apologise.

"I am fully aware of my responsibilities as the England women's head coach and am immensely proud and honoured to have been given the role. I am now looking forward to the future and will work tirelessly to try and help bring success to the team."

Neville has also faced flak for a lack of previous experience coaching in the women's game, although he has enjoyed brief stints as part of the backroom staff at Manchester United, England men's Under-21s and Spanish club Valencia.

The Women's Sports Trust (WST) questioned his credentials, and highlighted concerns over how the FA had come to select Neville as the successor to Mark Sampson.

Sampson was sacked in September over allegations of misconduct in a previous role and amid a racism row that led to criticism of senior FA officials.

It said: "To see a high-profile, former professional footballer virtually parachuted into such a significant role in football without the level of experience required, undermines the coaching pathway and will be a blow to hundreds of football coaches, both male and female, currently working towards their badges at all levels."

Chelsea Ladies manager Emma Hayes ruled herself out of the England job contention by extending her stay at the Women's Super League side. - AFP