Manchester City have appointed Nils Nielsen as Director of Football for the club’s women’s team, subject to work permit approval.
Nielsen will take charge of coach and player development across the women’s first team setup, while leading on player recruitment across the entirety of the women and girls’ pathway at the Academy Stadium.
Head Coach Gareth Taylor and Girls’ Academy Technical Director Jayne Ludlow will work directly under the Dane, with him then reporting into Managing Director Gavin Makel who will continue to head up overall business operations for Manchester City Women.
He arrives in Manchester boasting a lengthy and impressive résumé having spent a decade in the professional game on the international stage, overseeing the development of Denmark’s U18s before making the switch to his homeland’s women’s senior side in 2013.
Impressing during his four years in charge, his time with the team culminated in them reaching the final of the 2017 UEFA Women’s European Championships where they were narrowly beaten by the Netherlands in a six-goal thriller.
His efforts however did earn him a place on the final shortlist for FIFA The Best Women’s Coach in the same year, with him being pipped to the accolade by now-England boss Sarina Wiegman, whose Dutch team denied him and his side Euros success.
Enjoying a brief stint as assistant of China women’s Under-20s side in 2018, leading them to qualification for the U20 Women’s World Cup, the Dane took the reins of Switzerland women’s national team the same year.
Remaining in post until after last summer’s UEFA Women’s European Championships, Nielsen now makes the foray into club and English football for the first time as City’s inaugural Director of Football for their women’s team.
He will also be supported by former City and England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley, who will assist and work alongside the experienced figure in his new role once she has completed the development programme that she is currently undertaking with the club.
Speaking after the news of his move was confirmed, Nielsen said: “I am very happy to be here at Manchester City. Moving away from coaching and into a directorial role, it is ultimately about making a difference and working closely with people across the whole set-up.
“I’ve always been incredibly passionate about the development side of the game – that has driven me throughout my career. Manchester City want to be pioneering, and that makes this the perfect club for me to be at.
“You don’t get it much better than here – you have everything you need to be the best you can be, and I know there are exciting plans to come.
“This is a club that will continue to grow, and that makes me very excited for what lies ahead in the future.”