Phil Neville has been backed to succeed as manager of the England Women team by Arsenal counterpart Joe Montemurro.
Former England and Manchester United defender Neville took charge of the Lionesses for the first time on Thursday night as they thrashed France 4-1 in the SheBelieves Cup.
The result and performance delighted Neville, whose appointment in January came under a cloud as sexist tweets he sent several years earlier came to light just a day after the announcement.
Australian Montemurro, who took over as Arsenal Women boss in November, believes Neville can make a success of the job.
“I think it is an exceptional appointment for the game,” he told Press Association Sport, speaking on the eve of Neville’s first game at the helm.
“His knowledge and who he is can only bring a greater profile to the game and I’m sure he will be successful.”
England, who had only ever won one match in two previous SheBelieves Cup tournaments, blew France out of the water in Ohio.
Barcelona forward Toni Duggan put England ahead early on before goals from Jill Scott and Jodie Taylor had Neville’s side cruising at the break.
Fran Kirby added a fourth in the second half with Gaetane Thiney only slightly dampening Neville’s debut with a consolation goal for France.
Montemurro, who met Neville as the England boss introduced himself to clubs, believes placing someone with such standing in charge of the women’s national team can only be good for the sport moving forward.
“The beauty of it is that it is a fresh start, a clean slate and looking at it from afar it can only be massive for the game going forward,” Montemurro said.
The women’s game has been on the up, in terms of both quality and popularity, in England in the last few years.
Montemurro, whose Arsenal side play Manchester City Women in the Continental Tyres Cup final on March 14, has noticed that trend and thinks it can lead to long-term success for Neville and the national team.
“The higher the competition, the better the players are going to be produced for the national team,” he added.
“We should see England doing well in World Cups and competitions coming up and that can only increase interest in the game.”