Priest makes use of SheBelieves Cup to get Canada heading in the right direction for Tokyo

Whereas there may be uncertainty about who will exchange Phil Neville within the Workforce GB coach for girls’s soccer at this summer season’s Olympics, his former right-wing girl Bev Priestman is already stuffed with steam forward of Toyko, writes Rachel Steinberg.

In October, the previous England assistant and Durham-born Priestman was named Canada’s feminine nationwide workforce coach and she or he doesn’t waste a single second beneath a truncated lead in a sport that has already been postponed as soon as as a consequence of Covid-19.

With every sport gaining in significance in a race in opposition to time, the 34-year-old sees the SheBelieves Cup subsequent month – the place Canadians face Brazil, Argentina and the USA in Florida February 18-24 – as a vital take a look at in opposition to top-level competitors.

“I’ve a six-month journey to an Olympics as a substitute of 9, 12, 18 months,” the priest mentioned. “So I believe we completely must go straight to among the areas that we have to handle.

“We’ve to make use of the match for what it’s. We’ve to go in and apply some issues that we need to apply to the Olympics.

“We would not have time to attend lengthy.”

Priestman served because the lioness’ assistant coach from 2018 to 2020 – and was briefly liable for the ladies beneath 18 – earlier than she was lured again throughout the pond.

This shall be a second time with maple leaves on the Olympics for the lady who was born and raised in Consett, Durham, and has beforehand helped the workforce to bronze in Rio 2016 as an assistant coach.

And though she’s spent greater than 5 years teaching within the Canadian system, the Priestman often slips away, often referring to England as “we” earlier than smiling and saying, “I say ‘we,'” [I mean] England.

The priest was stuffed with reward for Rhian Wilkinson, the previous Canadian worldwide who not too long ago signed a short-term contract to assist interim England boss Hege Riise, who’s internet hosting a coaching camp subsequent month.

With Sarina Wiegman set to take the Lionesses helm after the Olympics, the FA will look to resolve who will lead Workforce GB in Tokyo after the February camp.

Wilkinson was a part of Canada’s squad in Rio and earned 181 caps throughout his profession earlier than turning to teaching.

She labored intently with Priestman in Canada, the place she labored as an assistant coach earlier than receiving the decision from the Lions.

And the Priestman was delighted to see the FA take an opportunity on their pal – stressing the significance of making a pipeline for gifted coaches to develop their expertise.

She mentioned: “For individuals to get higher, identical to a participant, they must go and expertise the brand new cultures, which is what Rhian will do, and we’ve to have fun that.”

England haven’t performed a sport since final yr’s SheBelieves Cup and with issues concerning the pandemic, they opted out of iteration in 2021 – for the primary time within the competitors’s six-year historical past, they won’t take part.

It opened the door for Canada to make its cup debut in opposition to Brazil, Argentina and arch-rival USA.

Priestman’s coaching camp listing consists of Manchester Metropolis striker Janine Beckie, Spurs defender Shelina Zadorsky and Chelsea midfielder Jessie Fleming.

She added: “[The pandemic] has given me the chance to truly breathe, sit down and choose.

“I already get a sense of actual starvation, want, pleasure for the group to return again once more.

“It is an opportunity to see that there’s hope on this planet we dwell in.”

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