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Gemma Grainger: Wales appoint new manager to succeed Jayne Ludlow

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New Wales manager Gemma Grainger is from Middlesbrough
New Wales manager Gemma Grainger is from Middlesbrough

Wales have appointed Gemma Grainger as their national team manager on a four-year contract.

Grainger, who has worked across the England development teams for 11 years, will take charge of Wales’ two friendly matches in April.

The 38-year-old succeeds Jayne Ludlow, who left her role by mutual consent in January after seven years in charge.

“I’m proud to become Cymru’s national team manager and I can’t wait for the challenge ahead,” Grainger said.

Unlike her predecessor, Grainger will only be responsible for Wales’ senior side, rather than overseeing the age-grade teams.

Grainger has been a Uefa pro licence holder since 2016, and her appointment is understood to have been well received by Wales’ players, who expressed their disappointment at Ludlow leaving her role.

Grainger, whose remit will be to help Wales qualify for a first major finals, has tournament experience having worked at the 2014 Women’s Under-20s World Cup, the 2016 Women’s Under-17 World Cup as well as two Under-19 Euro finals and an Under-17 Euro finals.

Grainger has managed more than 90 international matches and was part of England’s coaching staff for Euro 2017, where they reached the semi-finals.

“Every part of my career has been deliberate and thought out to build towards taking a senior team to a major tournament,” Grainger added.

“It’s an exciting time for everyone and I’m looking forward to working with staff and players to fulfil everyone’s potential to go to the next level. It’s an opportunity for me and the players to write a new chapter and build on the story of women’s football in Wales.”

The appointment of Grainger comes at a time of uncertainty at the Football Association of Wales (FAW).

Chief executive Jonathan Ford is to stand down at the end of March after being the subject of a vote of no confidence passed by the FAW council on Monday, 22 February.

Angela van den Bogerd, one of the people involved in the hiring of Grainger, has also left the FAW since the announcement of Ford’s departure.

BBC Sport Wales has learned Van den Bogerd, who was appointed the FAW’s head of people in 2020, has not had her probationary period extended.

Wales men’s team manager Ryan Giggs has had his bail extended until May after denying an allegation of assault.

“I am thrilled to announce Gemma’s appointment as national team manager,” FAW president Kieran O’Connor said.

“Following a thorough recruitment process, we now look forward to the future with the national team, with ambitions for growth and success in the women’s game in Wales.”

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