Sarina Wiegman has reaveld that she had to pretend to be a boy to play football “illegally” while growing up in the Netherlands.
The new England manager went on to win more than 100 caps for the Dutch national team.
Wiegman says that she is pleased that such deception is no longer necessary.
“When I started playing football as a six-year-old girl we weren’t allowed to play, so I played illegally,” she said to BBC Radio 5 Live.
“I had very short hair, looked a little bit maybe like a boy, my parents were really OK and I had a twin brother, so we just started to play and everyone said that’s OK.
“It wasn’t normal then and now it’s just normal, whether you’re a boy or a girl, you can play football and that’s just great. It was actually crazy before, that you couldn’t, but that’s just the way it is in development I guess.
“I hope for every kid there’s a pathway, whether you’re competitive or whether you just want to play for fun and not at a high level, and then at all stages and all ages you can play football. I’m very interested in it but for now I really have my focus on the senior women’s team.”
England beat North Macedonia 8-0 in Wiegman’s first game in charge last Friday and face Luxembourg on Tuesday night.
Leah Williamson, who led her country for the first time against North Macedonia, will retain the captaincy with Steph Houghton ruled out with an ankle injury for the World Cup qualifier at the Stade de Luxembourg.
Fran Kirby is set to return to the side after sitting out Friday’s thrashing.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies