England boss Phil Neville wants to play attractive and expansive – but wins are the only thing that matter

The Sun Sports 1 month ago

I SPEAK to Phil Neville often and he says he wants to be remembered for his style of play with attractive and expansive football.

But in reality you are remembered for being a winner, so if his style continues to leak goals and just scrape wins then the legacy will not be a strong one.

Phil Neville wants to be remembered for playing brilliant football – but he must also win[/caption]

Looking at the Lionesses’ last friendlies against Brazil and Portugal, you can see they didn’t play their best.

We can all say that if England had finished their chances against Brazil they could have won comfortably.

But that’s the difference between the best teams and the rest, the best teams are ruthless.

As a player you don’t get many chances at international level so when you do, you have to take them. Going back to the years when I was a player this was a problem. We would create chances but we were never clinical enough.

And that’s when a striker like Ellen White — who has been out with an injury sustained in pre-season — is so important.

She was England’s top goalscorer at the World Cup with six goals in six games and watching her you are confident she will put the ball away.

That’s the difference between winning a game and losing it, but we still have some top strikers in the squad.

The Portugal game which England won 1-0 thanks to a goalkeeping howler was difficult because they bunched up defensively against us.

England beat Portugal last week but were far from their best[/caption]

But England should be putting a team like Portugal — who are now 26 places below them in the Fifa world rankings — away.

Neville has responded to media criticism but I think people are just highlighting that England can do a lot better. Everyone wants the team to succeed.

It’s so important to have coverage of the sport to grow the game but at the same time journalists have got to do their job and be honest.

Even I sometimes find it hard covering England games on the BBC because they’re my former team-mates and my friends. So for me to sit there and point out things I know they’re trying to do, it’s hard.

But at the same time the players have got to face the constructive criticism because they need to do better.

You have a responsibility putting that Lionesses shirt on because it’s more than just football.

You’re trying to grow the fanbase, move the women’s game forward and it’s pressure.

But if you can’t handle that pressure you shouldn’t be playing at the top level.

I’m always excited for the Women’s Super League coming off the back of an international break. This is because the England games have been on TV so hopefully more people will be encouraged to get down to their local club and support them.

From a player’s perspective it’s hard because you have to quickly adjust to a club environment. A team like Arsenal, players have to switch to a totally different style of play, philosophy and group of team-mates.

Tony Pulis said on Goals last Sunday that he liked playing against teams who had players coming back from international duty because he knew it would have a big effect on them.

England lost against Brazil last weekend but had the chances to win the match[/caption]

The big game today is Chelsea against Arsenal at Kingsmeadow and I want to shout out players from both sides.

Firstly, Arsenal’s Leah Williamson, 22, because she shone in both England games. We saw her grow in her partnership with Steph Houghton. She is young but her confidence on the ball and ability to play out is amazing.

And then Chelsea’s Beth England who scored her first goal in a Three Lions shirt against Brazil. I really hope she takes that confidence with her against Arsenal today.


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