Gary Neville has faith in England squad

02 February 2016 02:23

Gary Neville is confident the current England squad can deliver a major trophy and not fail like the 'Golden Generation' he was part of.

Between 1995 and 2007, Neville played in some stellar England teams that contained the likes of Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Frank Lampard, John Terry, Michael Owen and Rio Ferdinand.

Collectively they were known as the 'Golden Generation' of English football, but the closest they came to glory was the quarter-final stages in three successive tournaments under Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Neville is now part of the coaching staff in the current England set-up. Under manager Roy Hodgson, the Three Lions won all 10 of their Euro 2016 qualifiers and earned praise for their 2-0 friendly win over France last November.

Neville thinks England are not destined to fail forever and strongly believes that the crop of players at Hodgson's disposal has the potential to end England's 50-year wait for a trophy.

"There will come a point where we get that generation to succeed," Neville said in an interview with former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell in GQ Magazine.

"Of course we need to improve, have more than the 32 per cent of English players we have in the Premier League now.

"There are four serial winners - Brazil, Argentina, Italy and Germany. Then others who win but dip after - Spain, France did it, England in the Sixties. It will come again.

"On our day we can beat anyone. Then the question is can we sustain it over a tournament? That remains to be seen. Roy picks the players but I have strong belief in them.

"If we can keep this group together, this can become 'the' generation."

Neville enjoyed far more success on the domestic front during his career. The right-back was part of Sir Alex Ferguson's all-conquering Manchester United side that dominated English football throughout the majority of the last 25 years.

Ferguson won 49 trophies during his 26-year tenure at Old Trafford and it has come as little surprise to Neville that the club have suffered a slump since his departure three years ago.

"Manchester United has been going 120 years. It is impossible to retain success year after year after year," said the defender, who played 602 times during a 19-year spell at the club.

"When Sir Alex Ferguson was manager, everyone said that when he leaves there will be a period of transition. Now people don't want to accept it; they aren't enjoying it. There is a dip, but it is normal."

Ferguson used to take a hands-on approach at United, but Neville thinks that is no longer possible.

He added: "The traditional manager-player relationship is dead.

"It is going to become head coach/sporting director/CEO depending on the structure. The idea of the manager running the club is finished."

Neville took his first job in management two months ago when he was appointed Valencia boss.

The England coach has found life difficult at the Mestalla. He has enjoyed success in the Copa del Rey, reaching the semi-finals, but is yet to win in eight league games.

The 40-year-old says he has learned a lot about management in his time at the Spanish club.

"I think we might have the youngest squad in Europe. Around 23 average age. It's fantastic," he said.

"When they are 19, 20, 21, they're like sponges; they want to listen. I played all my career under a hardened manager with a hardened set of players, robust mentally and physically.

"I never knew anything else. Being a coach at England and now here has helped me understand the vulnerability of these young lads.

"A lot of footballers are boys, kids. Yes, they are well paid, they are talented, but that doesn't mean they are hardened to fame, the distractions, problems in relationships."

Source: PA