Canada boss John Herdman has brushed off his English background ahead of a Women’s World Cup quarter-final clash with Mark Sampson’s Lionesses.
Herdman was born and raised in Consett, County Durham, studied sport science at university in Leeds and worked away from the public eye in football in his native north east before beginning an overseas adventure in New Zealand 12 years ago.
Now, at the age of 39, Herdman is manager of the World Cup hosts, who stand in England’s way of reaching the semi-finals for the first time.
The teams clash in Vancouver on Saturday night, with England fresh from a 2-1 win over Norway.
Herdman’s accent gives away his background and he has spoken of a long-term ambition of managing Newcastle.
But when asked about England after his team’s World Cup last-16 win over Switzerland, Herdman said: “I’m Geordie first and foremost – we’ve got our own little Geordie nation up in the north-east of England - and then I’m Canadian second.
“This is my country, this is my place.”
Herdman will come up against a host of former Sunderland Ladies players on Saturday, led by England skipper Steph Houghton.
The captain hails from South Hetton, and scored in England’s win over Norway, as did another ex-Black Cat, Lucy Bronze, who hails from Alnwick.
A third former Sunderland star, Jill Scott, is also likely to be in the team, while Jordan Nobbs and Carly Telford also in the squad.