Nick Cushing’s decision to leave his role as Manchester City manager has sparked plenty of debate in Women’s Super League (WSL) circles.
Cushing will head to Major League Soccer (MLS) at the start of February to take up the post of assistant manager to Ronny Deila at New York City FC.
The 35-year-old has been hugely successful at City, winning six trophies since the club was reformed back in 2014.
His new position keeps him within the City Football Group, but what does it mean for the club’s women’s team?
Cushing defends ‘difficult’ decision
Cushing will leave City with 18 months left on his contract to take up what he describes as a ‘brilliant opportunity’ to work abroad.
With City currently challenging for silverware on three fronts some pundits have questioned the timing of the decision, but Cushing has defended the move.
“Making the decision to leave MCWFC has been incredibly difficult given the fantastic players and staff that we have here and the incredible success that we have achieved together – it isn’t one that I have taken lightly,” he told the club’s official website.
“We’ve had an amazing six-and-a-half seasons and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with everybody – I will be extremely emotional to leave, but I’m very excited for my next role within the City Football Group.
“Linking up with New York City and Ronny (Deila) is a brilliant opportunity and I’m really looking forward to working in the MLS.”
Legacy intact despite European failures
City have enjoyed tremendous success under Cushing on the domestic front, but glory in Europe has unfortunately eluded them.
After consecutive Champions League semi-final defeats against Lyon in 2016/17 and 2017/18, City have suffered early exits at the hands of Atletico Madrid in the last two seasons.
Despite those disappointments, Cushing’s impact during his time in charge of City should not be underestimated.
He has nurtured young talents like Keira Walsh, Georgia Stanway and Lauren Hemp, highlighting his ability to make good players better.
Cushing leaves City with his legacy intact and with the club well placed to build on the work he has done over the past few years.
As one door closes, another one opens
Some critics have claimed that Cushing’s decision to move to the MLS is a smack in the face for the WSL, but nothing could be further from the truth.
In terms of its progress, the MLS is much further down the road than the WSL, making it an attractive proposition for ambitious coaches.
With New York City regularly playing in front of more than 20,000 people and the opportunity to broaden his horizons, the move is a no-brainer for Cushing.
His move also highlights to other up-and-coming coaches that working in the WSL can potentially help them climb the career ladder.
That factor may help the WSL attract a better quality of coach – ultimately giving the women’s game the chance to raise standards even further over the coming years.
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