SWINDON Town Ladies manager Dan Jones insists women’s football is heading in the right direction and slowly ridding of the age-old stereotypes associated with it.

Jones’ girls are currently competing in the south-west’s Division One league, sitting 10th after winning just one of their opening 11 fixtures.

But with the national team finishing third at the most recent World Cup in Canada – in addition to a semi-final spot at last year’s European Championships – Jones insists women’s football is gradually receiving the attention and focus it merits.

He said: “The quality that the girls show and the standard of play is up there with anything else.

“Some of the football that teams are putting together is top draw. Little one-two touch combinations and working the ball quickly are evident.

“It’s physical as well, the girls are flying into tackles. I do believe that more people should give it the benefit of the doubt.

“There are too many people to say that women’s football shouldn’t be there, but I think people should come and watch.

“Of course it will be slower than the men’s game, but for technical ability some of them would put the male players to shame.”

The Town boss has made no secret of his belief however that the standard of officiating in all leagues across the country has failed to progress with the quality of football being delivered on the pitch.

Two months ago, England coach Phil Neville publicly stated he was worried by the standard of referees in the women’s game.

And Jones echoed Neville’s comments, adding that more funding and exposure is something to strive for in 2019.

He added: “There is still a lot for women’s football to overcome, but also a lot to achieve.

“We are getting there, we are moving in the right direction.

“Things are starting to happen, and the quality and standard of players is always increasing.

“Unfortunately, the standard and level of officials aren’t improving. When the national team manager is coming out and saying the levels of officiating aren’t good, then you do question it right down to the level that we are competing at as well.

“If the standard of the game is improving, why aren’t the officials stepping up and doing the same.

“It’s a sad state when officials are ruining games – and when they’re talking about it at the top level, it makes it even harder for us.”