Sara Hilton should be considered for role in Wales women’s team set up

Sara Hilton (left) deserves to be part of the Wales women’s management

Jayne Ludlow’s departure as Cymru women’s national football team manager will hopefully open the door for more top-level North Wales involvement in our international set up.

The Football Association of Wales today reported Ludlow has departed the role she has held since 2014 by mutual consent.

The FAW says there will now be a “thorough recruitment process” to select the 42-year-old’s successor.

Let’s hope that process will include a good look at the coaching and managerial talent we have here in the North.

The time is definitely right for Sara Hilton to become involved in the Wales women’s international scene.

Welsh-speaker Sara is FAW Trust coach educator and senior lecturer of Football and Coaching Science at Wrexham Glyndwr University.

As a player, she was Wales captain from under-15 to U-19, plus an ex-Manchester United and Tranmere Rovers defender/midfielder.

Injury ended her playing days prematurely, but since going into coaching she has been a resounding success.

An A Licence candidate, she would be a perfect fit for Wales right now.

Last season, Sara made a massive impact as head coach of newly-formed Connah’s Quay Nomads women.

Not only did the Nomads emerge unbeaten in North Wales Women’s League Division Two and finish runners-up, they also produced the shock of the 2019-20 season in knocking Port Talbot of the Welsh Premier – two levels above – out of the Welsh Cup.

Sara stepped down as Nomads chief in the summer but remains very busy through her projects at Wrexham Glyndwr University.

Mari Edwards coaching at Airbus. Picture: Matt Jones @mattjimages

Another person worth considering for involvement in the national set-up is Mari Edwards of Airbus UK Broughton Women.

After a two-year lay-off with injury, Mari recently returned to playing, but she is also a past manager and current coach with the Wingmakers.

A UEFA/ FAW B Licence coach and FAW North Wales regional head coach since June 2018, Mari has amassed much experience and deserves the opportunity to introduce those skills at a national level.

Jayne Ludlow did a fine job as Wales women’s manager. She had been at the helm since October 2014 and became the first manager to lead the side for more than 50 games.

During that period Cymru reached the top 30 in the FIFA Women’s rankings for the first time and her squad narrowly missed out on a place in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, as well as the European Championships.

From a North Wales point of view, however, Ludlow’s input was hardly prolific.

Only one North Walian player, Elise Hughes, was a regular in her squads.

It was often said that unless you play in South Wales, or represent top teams in the English pyramid, you would not be on Ludlow’s radar.

And opportunities for Gogs in the younger under-17 and U19 squads have also been minimal.

Brilliant young talents performing in the North Wales League, such as Amlwch Town’s Catrin Evans and Anest Roberts of Bethel, were more than worthy of selection in this website’s opinion.

So here’s hoping Ludlow’s departure benefits the north.

In general, Wales women have become a much-improved side since the ex-Arsenal player took over from Jarmo Matikainen seven years ago.

Late last year, Ludlow was strongly linked with the vacant West Ham women’s manager’s job, but New Zealander Olly Harder was appointed to the role on December 23.

The FAW insist Ludlow is not about to take up the England manager’s post, which needs to be filled after today’s departure of Phil Neville.

Speculation is doing the rounds that Ludlow might be in line for the Team GB head role.

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