Lydia Bedford has said she is “unbelievably excited” after being announced as the new manager of Leicester City’s women’s team on a contract taking her to the end of the current season. She will step into the vacancy left by Jonathan Morgan, who was sacked last Thursday after failing to win a single point from the promoted side’s first eight games of the Women’s Super League season.
Bedford, who will take over on Monday after leaving her head coach role with England Women’s youth team, will be joined at the club by Brent Hills, a former head of women’s elite development at the Football Association. The former Leicester and England men’s striker, Emile Heskey, had taken temporary charge but will revert to his role as the club’s head of women’s football development following Sunday’s League Cup game at Manchester United.
In announcing the appointment, Leicester’s chief executive, Susan Whelan, said: “Lydia is one of the rising stars of the women’s game, whose technical coaching credentials are complemented by an incredible passion for and knowledge of women’s football that can have an immediate impact on our squad.
“While addressing the form of the team on the pitch is clearly the immediate priority, I’m excited to see the impact of Lydia’s and Brent’s experiences on our entire women’s football operation, which continues to mature at speed in its second season since turning professional.”
Bedford, whose first game in charge will be against 15-times league winners Arsenal on 12 December, added: “Leicester City’s vision for women’s football and the extent of its ambition have been obvious during the last two seasons, so I’m unbelievably excited to have the chance to be part of that. Taking the step into a senior coaching role is something I’ve always wanted to do.
“I’m delighted that Brent has agreed to join our coaching staff. His experiences in the women’s game are unrivalled and he will bring invaluable support both to the training pitch and to our strategic planning.
“The infrastructure of personnel and facilities that have been put in place since women’s football turned professional in Leicester tells you everything you need to know about where the club wants to go.”
Leicester were promoted from the Championship last season with 16 wins from 20 games, finishing eight points clear at the top. Their debut WSL season has so far proved a chastening affair, however, with eight straight defeats, only three goals scored and 19 conceded. They have only scored once in the league since 12 September.
Despite their terrible introduction to life in the top tier, they remain only one point from climbing out of the division’s sole relegation place thanks to a little-better season for Birmingham, who have managed one draw from their eight games so far. After Leicester follow their match at Arsenal with a home game against defending champions Manchester City, the two basement sides meet on 19 December.