Phil Neville has apologised after sexist tweets he wrote several years ago resurfaced hours after he was appointed manager of the England women’s football team.
Twitter users began to share the controversial tweets shortly after the former Manchester United and England defender was appointed on Tuesday.
In 2012 he posted: “Morning men couple of hours cricket be4 work sets me up nicely for the day.”
Asked why he only referred to men in his post, he replied: “When I said morning men I thought the women would of been busy preparing breakfast/getting kids ready/making the beds-sorry morning women!”
A further tweet from the account read: “Relax I’m back chilled – just battered the wife!!! Feel better now!” Another from December 2012 reads: “U women of [sic] always wanted equality until it comes to paying the bills #hypocrites”
The 41-year-old deleted the posts and took down his Twitter account as criticism grew.
On Wednesday lunchtime he issued a statement saying: “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.”
Shortly before the furore began Neville had told his 1.6 million followers he was “extremely proud and honoured” to be joining the Lionesses.
He is replacing Mark Sampson, who was sacked following evidence of “inappropriate and unacceptable” behaviour in a previous role.
Neville, who earned 59 England caps and had a distinguished career with Everton after his time at Old Trafford, has been given a contract with the England women’s team until the end of the 2021 European Championship.
It is his first managerial post, having previously worked as a coach at Manchester United and Valencia and with the England men’s U21 setup.
He takes over an England team that is third in the world rankings, behind only the United States and Germany.
Neville is currently with the Lionesses at their warm-weather training camp in La Manga, Spain, where they played the Netherlands in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Tuesday.
Neville’s brother, fellow ex-Manchester United and England footballer Gary Neville, and their sister Tracey Neville, who is head coach of England’s netball team, both tweeted messages of congratulations following his appointment.