Next Game

Lithuania U21 v England U21

Friday, 05 September 2014, 17:00

U-21 Championship Group One

Neville: Youngsters lacking

Phil Neville feels England's struggles on the international stage are down to youngsters not being 'battle-hardened'.

Last Updated: 02/07/13 at 18:50 Post Comment

Phil Neville: Wants to see young stars playing more 'quality football'

Phil Neville: Wants to see young stars playing more 'quality football'

Neville, who has called time on his distinguished playing career, formed part of an exciting crop of talent which graduated out of Manchester United's youth system in the early 90s.

He, along with the likes of David Beckham, Paul Scholes and brother Gary, was thrown into the first-team fold at Old Trafford by Sir Alex Ferguson and entrusted with the responsibility of delivering results at home and abroad.

United reaped the rewards of putting faith in players of promise, but that blueprint has not been followed by other top clubs or by the England national team.

A disappointing showing at this summer's European U21 Championship only served to highlight those deficiencies and Neville says more needs to be done to ensure that the stars of tomorrow are given the right stage on which to showcase and mould their ability.

After forming part of Stuart Pearce's coaching team at the U21 Euros in Israel, Neville said: "Our U21 players aren't playing enough quality football early enough.

"I got my experience at 18. Our lads now are 21, 22, 23 and a lot of them still aren't playing and getting the rigours of 40 or 50 games a season. When I was 21, I'd travelled the world playing football, playing three games a week, so my body and mind were battle-hardened.

"A lot of the kids now aren't battle-hardened until they get to 27 - and that's too late. We'll have missed another generation of international footballers.

"Before I went to the tournament, I got emailed a list of all the squads. Part of me felt then that we have got no chance at this tournament. I didn't say anything, but I looked at the Dutch list and the Spanish list and the number of full international players they had, and then at ours, and thought to myself: 'What chance are we giving ourselves?' People say it's easier said than done, but the Spanish, Germans and Dutch do it.

"We've hopefully got a World Cup in a year's time and a lot of players who didn't come with the U21s won't have been to a tournament before, whereas five or six Spanish players who won the U21 tournament will be at the World Cup."

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

T

his is brilliant! All these years of moral ambiguity, grey areas of offence and context..now we have a simple, easy to follow guide to right and wrong. What did you do today? I kicked the face off a panda . Oh well, you didn't rape, kill anyone or abuse a minor, knock yourself champ.

megabrow (cufc)
Redknapp leaps to Mackay defence

I

wonder if he'd feel the same way if he wasn't a white, non-jewish heterosexual male. Because Mackay has basically insulted everyone else!

Jay_D
Redknapp leaps to Mackay defence

C

heers Harry. I was wondering if he'd murdered anyone

Ezy_Rider
Redknapp leaps to Mackay defence

Footer 365

Saturday Football Live

All the live action from the Premier League, Sky Bet Championship and Football Leagues on Saturday.

Women's football: Liverpool Ladies urged to fight for FA WSL title

Goalkeeper Libby Stout wants Liverpool Ladies to 'fight like they've never fought before' to retain their FA WSL title

Premier League: Crystal Palace did not want me enough says Tim Sherwood

Tim Sherwood says he withdrew his application for the Crystal Palace job because he was not made to feel wanted enough.

Mail Box

More Fan Mail For Football365...

'Just p*ss off with your righteous indignation will you. W*nkers.' There's a lot of anger going around for what should have been a sleepy Friday afternoon at F365 Towers...

Man United: One Game To Save Season

They have one match to convince decent players that they are worth joining - over to you, Louis. We also have mails on Malky Mackay, Mario Balotelli and Tim...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property