Phil Neville in astonishing defence to criticism of his England methods: ‘Thank your lucky stars I’m here’

England Women coach Phil Neville has launched an astonishing defence of his managerial methods, claiming people should “thank their lucky stars” that he is in charge of the national team to make bold decisions because he has “a vision that nobody else has”.

The 42-year-old is being linked with the vacant position with United States Women, following Jill Ellis’ exit after their World Cup triumph, but he has vowed to commit his future to the Lionnesses.

However, speaking to The Telegraph, Neville launched into a passionate defence of his selection philosophy, having received criticism for rotating his side before the SheBelieves Cup victory against Japan as well as during the World Cup campaign.

“It took people out of their comfort zones that were used to playing two games every international camp. But then they bought into the fact that we wanted better team harmony, better depth. They understood that. Then we started to see people really develop.

“People would have absolutely criticised me, but I was brave enough to make those decisions because I trusted the players and they trusted me, and I will continue to do that. I have a vision that nobody else has. I’ve got bravery that no other coach has probably had.

“So, do you know what? Thank your lucky stars. I’m here. I’m here to stay. And I’m going to continue to keep improving. I’ve got a long way to go but I think with the set of players we’ve got and with my philosophy, I think we can go a long way. I live and breathe it, and I never have a bad day.”

Neville’s stunning outburst has drawn comparisons to Jose Mourinho’s famous declaration that he was the ‘Special One’ upon his arrival at Chelsea 15 years ago, with the former Manchester United defender claiming that managers and coaches deserve more credit when getting the best out of good teams.

“It doesn’t stack up, really, because look at the great managers in world football – you can say, ‘They’re not great managers but they’ve got great players,’” Neville added. “It’s true. You can have great coaches that don’t get success because they’ve not got the best tools, but when you’ve got good players you have to manage them.

“The risks we took in terms of the rotations – I don’t see many managers in world football doing that in the women’s game. I don’t see many managers in the women’s game playing the kind of short corners we play, taking the risks we take in terms of expansiveness.

“That takes courage and bravery and for that you need players, but you also need a style of football like we’ve played over the last 18 months. It works hand in hand. If you’re a good coach and you’ve got good players, you end up with great players and a great coach.


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