International football a logistical nightmare amid Covid pandemic, says Neville


England manager Phil Neville watches a Women's Super League game
Phil Neville (right) will leave his role when his contract expires in July 2021
Date: Tuesday, 27 October Venue: Brita Arena, Wiesbaden Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Two and the BBC Sport website

England boss Phil Neville says international football during the coronavirus pandemic has become “an absolute minefield”.

Neville’s side play their first game since March when they take on Germany in Wiesbaden on Tuesday.

“We have to get people from different bubbles, different environments and different countries into one and then make sure they stay safe,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“We need to manage the situation well.”

The Lionesses have not played a competitive fixture since March, when they lost 1-0 to Spain in their final match at the SheBelieves Cup.

The squad met up at England’s St George’s Park base on Sunday and were set to play a training game scheduled on Friday before travelling to face Germany, Europe’s highest-ranked team.

The friendly kicks off at 15:00 GMT and will be shown live on BBC Two.

“We’ve got to keep these players safe and then that they can go back to their clubs and remain safe and make sure they don’t get tested positive,” Neville said.

“We can’t play that many games because to get teams to come to England is difficult, and the nervousness of us travelling to European countries means we have to be selective.

“It’s an absolute minefield.”

Neville, 43, has named several younger, uncapped players in his latest squad as he plans for the Euro 2021 finals, which have been put back to 2022 because of the pandemic.

The former Manchester United defender, who will be leaving his role before the tournament and handing over to current Netherlands manager Sarina Wiegman, says he would “never take a short-term view”.

“Regardless of whether I was going to stay longer or leave in a year’s time, my focus was always on doing the right thing,” said Neville, who added he is still “open-minded” about his future.

“The right thing was planning for the next three-year cycle and you have to be ruthless in selections.

“I have to do what is best for the Lionesses.”

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