CASEY STONEY has resigned as Manchester United Women’s boss days after her team narrowly missed out on a Champions League spot.
Stoney’s surprise resignation comes almost two months after she said she would consider it a “personal failure” to miss out on the contest.
The former centre-back, 38, has been at the helm of the Red Devils since June 2018 following the team’s reestablishment in March that year.
And the ex-England skipper led the team to a swift promotion to the WSL from the Championship in 2019 achieving successive fourth-place finishes in two seasons.
The Telegraph reports Stoney, who began her journey as a footballer at the age of 12 at Chelsea, is thought to have been displeased with the training conditions for her side in recent months.
It is also thought clubs from around the world – including the top-flight women’s sides in the USA – are interested in the straight-talking United gaffer.
And The Athletic claims the WSL boss is in talks to head up an NWSL expansion team in San Diego.
Stoney, whose team are due to face newly-promoted Leicester City in the Women’s FA Cup fifth round, said opting to stand down had been an ‘incredibly tough decision’.
The club are yet to confirm whether the former Chelsea-player manager will take charge to the side during their clash with the Foxes.
In an official club statement, Stoney said: “It has been an honour to lead the women’s team at this great club and this has been an incredibly tough decision.
“Having come on board to start the team from scratch, then winning the Women’s Championship in our first season, we have now successfully established the team as a force in the Women’s Super League.
“I have loved leading this group and I am proud of what we have achieved together.
"However, after a difficult season with the disruption caused by the pandemic, I now feel the time is right to take some time away and for someone else to come in and lead the team on the next stage of its journey.
“I want to thank the club, all of the fantastic staff, the fans, and most of all the players, for the incredible experience we have shared over the past three years.”
United chief executive Ed Woodward added: "Casey has been a driving force behind that success since she joined us in 2018.
"She has been an inspiration to her players and staff, fans, and to all of us.
"I know I speak for everyone in thanking her for her unstinting hard work and dedication and paying tribute to her achievements.”
The Red Devils' match with the Foxes on Sunday will be the club’s final game this term with Women's FA Cup competition resuming again next season.
The team, whose players include England stars Ella Toone, Katie Zelem and Millie Turner, finished just a point behind third-placed Arsenal in the top tier.
And the Gunners' top three finish saw them bag the WSL’s last remaining Women’s Champions League qualifying spot.
United have struggled with injuries to several first-team players this season including Alessia Russo, Leah Galton and US superstar Tobin Heath.
But while the club endured losses to Reading, Man City and Arsenal in February and March, they won six of their last games across all competitions keeping clean sheets.
Prior to coaching Stoney enjoyed a stellar 19-year playing career representing Arsenal, Charlton, Chelsea and Liverpool between 1999 and 2018.
The former Lionesses ace, who captained Team GB women's football team at the London 2012 Game
And the former Lionesses defender began her coaching career at Chelsea in 2009 before joining Phil Neville’s England backroom team in 2018 and then becoming Man United Women's boss.
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