'I love Ted Lasso' - Lionesses boss Sarina Wiegman reveals she 'can relate' to TV series

Virgin Radio

9 Nov 2023, 12:14

Sarina Wiegman talks to Chris Evans at Virgin Radio

Sarina Wiegman visited Virgin Radio to speak about her new book and about women's football, and she also revealed her love of Ted Lasso!

When the Lionesses manager joined the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with cinch to talk about her new book, What It Takes, the conversation also turned to another iconic footy boss, albeit a fictional one.

When Chris asked the England manager is she had watched Apple TV+ show Ted Lasso, she told him: “Yeah, I love Ted Lasso. It was so funny.” 

The comedy series - starring Jason Sudeikis as an American football coach hired to manage a British soccer team - was a huge hit with viewers and critics. And Sarina explained that there are parallels between what she saw on the screen and her own job. “It’s so exaggerated, what they do, that it's so funny, but you can relate so much to your own environment too. It's really, really funny,” she told Chris.

When asked whether she has stolen any of Ted's management techniques, the Dutch star said: “I don’t think I stole anything, it’s just sometimes you can relate [it] to yourself.”

She added: “He cares about people.”

Sarina took up the role of England’s head coach in 2021, and has led the Lionesses to victory at the Euros at Wembley and to a historic first World Cup final this year. “The team was already in a very good place,” she said of her arrival. “When I came in, the team had made three semi-finals in major tournaments. And that's really good. But we just asked them the question, ‘What made us so good, and what do we need to take the next step?’”

She explained plans to ensure “connections between the players, between staff, on and off pitch,” in order to enable the players to “express” themselves, and that “we really encouraged them to play, play to win, and accept mistakes and learn from it.” 

Sarina’s new book is a personal account of her journey in life and football, and also provides insight into her coaching philosophy, leadership style and her vision for the future of women’s football and gender equality across sport. On the growth of the women’s game, she told Chris: “I didn't have examples when I was a young kid. Now you see little girls and boys having shirts of Ella Toone, of Fran Kirby or Beth Mead, so they have examples. And it's so incredible. So, the growth of the game is really going in the right direction. And I'm so proud of… and I feel very privileged... that I have lived through this kind of history. That's so valuable. And that now for girls football is cool. And when I played, football was not cool for girls.” 

She added: “The discussion about females being able to coach male teams; I think, why not? Of course a female can coach male teams.”

When co-host Rachel Horne asked if there was a Premier League men’s team that she would like to take charge of, the England boss said: “I'm really happy in the position I'm in right now, and I don't underestimate how good it is. So I work with the best players. I work with the Federation. We have so much support, we have all the facilities, and I just love my job. I would not want to go away and leave that job.

She added: “It’s great to work in the women’s game.”

Talking about children’s football, Sarina told Chris: “I think when kids are young, from the age six to 12, just let them play. And things come naturally, Let them play. They can play upfront, they can play in defence, I think you just let them go, and then you can see the preferences. They learn very easily at that age, like the technical part of the game. And also, we shouldn't coach that much in that age, let them play and encourage them to play and do their best and enjoy themselves. And then later on, when they get older, then they get into a position.”

What It Takes is out today (9th November).

For more great interviews listen to  The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with cinch weekdays from 6:30am on Virgin Radio, or catch up on-demand here.