Manchester United’s veteran captain Gary Neville has leapt to the defence of England coach Fabio Capello and instead insisted that the majority of the blame for his side’s gutless display in South Africa lies with the players themselves.
The 35-year-old right-back, who last played for his country in 2007, also berated the FA for publicly announcing that they are to spend the next fortnight considering the Italian’s future.
Writing for The Times, comrade Neville said;
“England are out of the World Cup and, surprise, surprise, we are talking about sacking the manager.
If that was a reaction I expected from some fans and pundits, I was disappointed – although not exactly shocked – to hear wavering coming out of the FA.
Two weeks to decide Fabio Capello’s future, says Adrian Bevington, the Club England managing director. This is the same Club England (whatever that is) that trumpeted so proudly 28 days ago that it had taken the release clause out of the manager’s contract.
One minute these guys are talking about Capello as world-class, now they need a fortnight to decide if he is the man for them after all.
What are they waiting for – to see what’s in the newspapers? Where is the backbone? Now you can understand why I have had my arguments with the FA down the years.”
The feral, almost malnourished defender also believes that, whilst he may have made some pretty fundamental selection errors during the World Cup, Capello was not necessarily the guilty party behind his side’s slovenly performances;
“[The FA] has to stick by Capello. I do not agree with all his decisions, from squad selection to formation, but nor do I buy the idea that he merits the sack.
It is easy for Alan Shearer to say the players haven’t performed for him, but is that all one man’s fault? I’d put three of Germany’s four goals down to individuals.
Whatever anyone says about systems – and I was surprised Capello didn’t try 4-5-1 – these were errors from experienced players.”
Neville also pointed out that, although English clubs have dominated in the Champions League over the past few years, the influx of foreign talent within the respective squads means that European success cannot serve as an accurate barometer for the strength of the national team;
“We have to question how good we truly are. Better than we performed in this World Cup, for sure, but have we overestimated our strengths on the basis of our strong record in the Champions League? Possibly.
The success of Manchester United and Chelsea cannot be a reliable guide to the merits of the England team, given the number of top-class players from overseas.”
I can’t believe I’m going to say this out loud, but I actually agree with Gary Neville.
I feel nauseous.