By Rebecca Hawksworth

Hope Powell knows a thing or two about coaching and leadership, and what it takes to get the best out of a team of players.

“I basically handpicked my team,” she said when asked about the types of people she likes to surround herself with as a head coach. “I wanted people that would challenge my thinking.”

The former England manager and player recently sat down with UCFB to discuss her illustrious career, and to pass on advice to students looking to pursue a career in the football and sport industry.

Powell spent most of her playing career with the Millwall Lionesses, and earned over 60 caps for England, including playing in a European final for her country as a 17-year-old.

It’s her time as England manager though where she made her name, where she led the nation to two world cup quarter finals, and a European final in 2009.

So how did she create such a number of tight-knit, dynamic squads during her time with the Three Lionesses?

She said: “Let them [the team] have a voice, let them have an opinion and embrace their opinions. It’s tough because there are so many different personalities from all sorts of backgrounds and you have to understand that and be receptive to that. If you get that right then that is very powerful, more so sometimes than the football itself.”

Powell acknowledges though that as a head coach it’s not just about managing the personalities of those playing for you, but also dealing with the people above you, namely The Football Association.

Powell, who led the Team GB team at the London 2012 Olympics, said: “Managing upwards is about convincing those people that if they agree to your idea then they’re going to benefit from it.”

She added: “Something I learnt was that a win for me was a win for them.”