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Women's Football Casey Stoney sets sights on becoming the next Ferguson

CASEY STONEY wants to become the Alex Ferguson of women’s football after taking the Manchester United Women job.

Ex-England captain Stoney was named the first head coach of the newly formed United team on June 8.

The 36-year-old, who had a short spell as assistant to England Women manager Phil Neville before heading to Lancashire, hopes to emulate the success of long-serving former United boss Ferguson.

“I’m looking forward to a great career at Manchester United,” she said.

“I’d love to be the Sir Alex Ferguson of the women’s game and make sure we build something really special and be there for years and years to come.

“This isn’t a one-year project, this is a three-to-five-year (project), and further than that.

“We want to challenge at the top of women’s football and get Manchester United to where it should be.”

Vastly experienced Stoney represented her country 130 times and was selected for three World Cups.

The former defender only ended her playing career in February and quickly took up a coaching position with the national team.

She received the blessing of Lionesses boss Neville to accept the new role and says she has a special bond with the former United defender.

“I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t spoken to Phil about it because he’s my closest confidant,” she said.

“We’ve really built a bond over the last six months — he’s like my annoying older brother.

“He knows Man United better than I do and I think I know England better than he does. We learn a lot off each other and I trust him.

“And he finds it amusing on a daily basis to take the mickey out of me so that’s the sort of relationship we’ve got.”

United’s women’s side will play in the Women’s Championship next season.

The club’s application to establish a professional women’s team was approved by the Football Association three weeks ago as part of a restructuring of the leagues.

Stoney is busy recruiting a squad from scratch and believes immediate promotion to the top flight can be achieved.

“I think it’s realistic, I think it has to be one of our aims,” she said about the possibility of reaching the Women’s Super League.

“I think we’re signing players that are capable of doing that but I’m also aware …  we’re bringing 26 to 28 strangers together.

“There’s no pressure from the club to do that but as manager that’s definitely my ambition.”

Stoney says terms have already been agreed with 17 players and talks are progressing with a handful of others.

The former Arsenal, Charlton, Chelsea, Lincoln and Liverpool player has been impressed by the backing of her new club and could soon have an opportunity to bend the ear of men’s team manager Jose Mourinho.

“At some point, we will meet,” she said of the men’s team manager.

“I’ve already had a meeting in London with Ed [Woodward, United’s executive vice chairman] and he was fantastic about his vision for the women’s team and his support for it.

“You don’t often have that access in women’s teams to talk to people at the top.”

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