'I am not Jorge Vilda' - New Spain women's manager Montse Tome lays framework down for a new era for the federation

Montse Tome spain 2023Getty Images

Women's football in Spain is facing a defining moment. Former Spanish FA (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales resigned after he kissed striker Jenni Hermoso on the lips following the World Cup final. Spain coach Jorge Vilda - who a number of players wanted out - was sacked and replaced by Tome.

Now, the new Spain boss has outlined her identity and made it clear that she is willing to change the landscape of Spanish football for the better.

"In this time [since replacing Vilda] what I have tried to do has been to put together my coaching staff," Tome said on Monday after naming her squad for Spain's upcoming Nations League qualifiers.

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"It has a high level. For me, I like to feel close to the field. Everything that is not that, I don't like very much. This position demands a lot from you and takes a lot on a day-to-day basis. The important thing is the game."

Tome caused a shock by including 20 of the 39 players who on Friday said they would continue their boycott of the national team until more structural changes were made. Hermoso - who says Rubiales kissed her without consent - has not been selected. The coach insisted that changes have been made and that she believes those selected will play.

"It is true that I have worked with Vilda for five years, but I am not Jorge Vilda. I am Montse Tomé, I am a different person and with a different personality and with different values. All the players know me and I know what they think and they feel about me. I feel grateful to be here today. I know that it is a privileged position and I am going to do it with the greatest work and humility. The truth is that we are very eager to begin this stage."

"I like to be someone who empathizes, I like to listen to them and be close to them. Everything that has happened during these days is very unpleasant. We show ourselves to them and accompany their feelings in everything they have experienced. I am also someone who is respectful of the work with others. I like to compete and be with the players as soon as possible. Everything else is in the hands of the leaders who are the ones who can direct. This has caught us all again. I am surrounded by people who are professionals."

"I have experienced football from the mud and I know where I come from. When I came to the Federation it is not the same as it is now. Our players also had other resources and abilities. That has changed. The best way to grow is to build [what] we have. I want to contribute what we have. A professional work environment begins, in which I trust."

"My people are going to give it to me. The call was in a special situation, I like to work with time and have a long vision. My entire staff has been following the day and also the other leagues. Due to this situation everything has been extended a little. I feel that we do what we had to do. The 23 best players are coming. We really want to see them with the shield on their chest."

Three of those players - Mapi Leon, Laia Alexandri and Patri Guijarro - did not travel to the World Cup as they refused to play under Vilda. They have not represented Spain since 2022, but Tome has welcomed them back into the fold.

"A new stage begins, we all have to be very clear about it. I have been lucky to be able to choose. They have given me all the facilities from the RFEF. We are going to generate a professional, ambitious work atmosphere with a great desire to win."

Spain will begin their Nations League campaign against Sweden on Friday before facing Switzerland next week. The outcome of those matches could determine whether or not they qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.