By Gary Anderson

December 6 - Following 15 years in the job Hope Powell is being replaced by Matt Sampson of Bristol Academy ©Getty Images Bristol Academy boss Mark Sampson has been appointed as the new head coach of the England women's team on a four-year contract it has been announced by the Football Association.

Sampson takes over from Brent Hills, who had been in caretaker charge of the side following the FA's decision to relieve long term coach Hope Powell of her duties back in August after 15 years in charge.

Despite leading England to two World Cup quarter-finals, and the final of the 2009 European Championships in Finland, 46-year-old Powell paid the price for a poor display at this year's European Championships in Sweden, where England recorded one draw and two defeats and failed to make the knockout stages.

Hills, who was Powell's assistant, has overseen a 100 per cent start to England's Group Six qualifying campaign for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada with four wins from four and no goals conceded which has England sitting on top of the group.

It is believed that Hills had also applied for the position but the FA plumped for Sampson to take over the reins and his first task will be to select a squad for a training camp in La Manga, Spain, in January.

"I'm very proud and honoured to be offered the opportunity by the Football Association to manage the England women's senior team," said Sampson.

"Women's football in England is in a fantastic place right now with the growth and development of the game in the last few years and I am ready to give everything I have to build an England team that every English supporter can be proud of.

"I am also very thankful to Brent for the excellent work he has done in helping the team get off to a winning start in the qualifying campaign for the World Cup in 2015.

"The aim is to build on this momentum going forwards, and I look forward to the first training camp in January.

"This is huge challenge for me personally and one in which I'm looking forward to taking on.

"I hope everyone in the game can unite behind me and the squad and together we can share a new and exciting journey for women's football in England."

Sampson takes over from Brent Hills who was in caretaker charge and guided England to four wins from four following Hope Powell's sacking in August ©Getty Images Mark Sampson takes over from Brent Hills who was in caretaker charge and guided England to four wins from four following Hope Powell's sacking in August ©Getty Images

The 31-year-old spent five years at Super League outfit Bristol and led them to their highest ever finish this season, when they finished second behind Liverpool ladies.

Under his tenure the club also reached two FA Cup Finals and gained qualification for the UEFA Women's Champions League.

Prior to his joining Bristol, Sampson worked under former Swansea City boss Roberto Martinez as the club's centre of excellence manager.

As part of his new role, Sampson will work closely with national coaches and the new head of elite women's development - (yet to be appointed -at St George's Park in Burton, to improve England teams at all levels.

"Mark is an outstanding manager with a tremendous passion and commitment to drive the game forward in this country," said Sir Trevor Brooking, the FA's director of football development.

"We were extremely impressed by Mark's vision for the England women's team and we are all looking forward to working with him in what is a very exciting time for the women's game in this country."

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