Hege Riise is set to take charge of Britain's women's football team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games ©Getty Images

Hege Riise has been named as head coach of Britain’s women’s football team for this year’s rescheduled Olympic Games in Tokyo following the departure of Phil Neville as England boss.

The Norwegian was installed as interim England manager in January after Neville’s decision to join Major League Soccer side Inter Miami.

Neville was expected to take charge of Britain’s women’s team at the Olympic Games but his exit left the Football Association (FA) searching for other candidates.

Baroness Sue Campbell, director of women’s football for the FA, cited Riise’s previous Olympic experiences and managerial expertise as the reasons for her appointment as boss.

Riise, a gold-medal as a player with Norway at Sydney 2000, is set to combine the role with her duties as interim head coach of England before preparations begin in June for Tokyo 2020.

Following the Games, Riise is expected to continue her role with England until the arrival of Dutch coach Sarina Wiegman in a full-time capacity in September. 

Riise will be assisted by former Canada international Rhian Wilkinson after the pair teamed up for an England training camp last month, while another coach is expected to be added to the management team.

Hege Riise was part of the Norwegian team that won gold at Sydney 2000 ©Getty Images
Hege Riise was part of the Norwegian team that won gold at Sydney 2000 ©Getty Images

"I know first-hand as a former player just how huge the Olympics are as a tournament and I'm enormously proud to have this opportunity to lead the GB squad into the Games," said Riise.

"We'll go there to give everything we have to be successful and I hope we can also use the power of the Games to help women’s football continue to grow in popularity.

"I thank the FA for their trust in me, and also the National Lottery for the backing they are giving to the team.

"This kind of strong support is so important if we're to go there and perform to the best of our abilities."

Campbell added: "We couldn't have been more impressed with the impact that Hege and Rhian have had in such a short space of time with England women, particularly during our recent international camp at St. George’s Park.

"I'm in no doubt that their Olympic experience and management expertise will provide the squad with the best possible opportunity to succeed at the Tokyo Games."

Britain’s women’s football team are set to compete at the Olympics for the first time since London 2012 after securing their place courtesy of England’s run to the semi-finals of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The four home nations - England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland - failed to come to an agreement to field a British team at Rio 2016, but managed to form a deal for Tokyo 2020.

The National Lottery has pledged to support the team by arranging a warm-up international match on home soil, as well as providing for training camps and the squad’s travel and logistics needs.

"I cannot stress enough how crucial the National Lottery’s support will be as we look to achieve Olympic success this summer," said Campbell.

"While the 18 players and support staff will feel the direct benefit, we'll also be able to inspire countless numbers of young girls and boys just at a time when we need to lift the spirits and aspirations of youngsters to get involved in the grassroots game after such a challenging year.

"We want this to be another pivotal moment for women’s football on the global stage."

Britain will be one of 12 teams taking part in the women’s football tournament at the Games, with matches scheduled to be held from July 21 to August 6.