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Casey Stoney makes "incredibly tough" decision to leave Manchester United Women

Stoney makes
© Reuters
Casey Stoney guided United to the Championship title in their first season as a professional outfit.

Casey Stoney said she had made an "incredibly tough decision" after announcing she would step down as Manchester United Women head coach at the end of the season.

The former England international, 38, is leaving the post after three years in charge at United.

The first season, following the team's 2018 launch as a professional outfit, saw Stoney guide them to the Championship title.

United have subsequently recorded two fourth-placed finishes in the Women's Super League, ending up one point adrift of third-placed Arsenal this term as the Gunners won the race for a Champions League spot.

Stoney said in a statement on United's official website on Wednesday: "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 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, who have had considerable injury problems this term, were unbeaten in their first 10 WSL games of the campaign and leading the table at the start of 2021 before slipping down the rankings.

Last week Stoney, a nominee for WSL manager of the season, said "not getting Champions League football for me is a personal failure".

The team's final match of 2020-21 is at home against Leicester in the FA Cup fifth round on Sunday. The latter stages of the competition will be completed next season.

Stoney guided Manchester United to Women's Championship glory in her first season
Stoney guided Manchester United to Women's Championship glory in her first season (Anthony Devlin/PA)

United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said in Wednesday's statement: "Casey has been a driving force behind the success of our women's team since she joined the club in 2018.

"She has been an inspiration to her players and staff, to everyone at the club, and to the fans.

"Everyone at Manchester United thanks her for her unstinting hard work and dedication and pays tribute to her achievements. She will always be part of the Manchester United family."

John Murtough, United's football director, said: "Manchester United is completely committed to its women's team and to building on the legacy of Casey's achievements as we move forwards.

"With the recent historic first game at Old Trafford and the impact the team has made in the Women's Super League, the future is bright.

"While we will be sad to see Casey leave, the team and the operation will continue to go from strength to strength."

United said they were "in the process of recruiting a new women's head coach and this will be announced in due course."

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Casey Stoney pictured in September 2019
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina22131247
United StatesUnited States19201352
JapanJapan175830
AustraliaAustralia1331430
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia11151137
Great BritainGreat Britain9101231
Today's Olympic highlights header

Sunday's key events


GOLF
· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

CYCLING - BMX
· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

SWIMMING
· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

TENNIS
· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

SAILING
· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
Todays Game Header Right
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Russian Premier League
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Uruguayan Primera Division
Liga MX
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