Phil Neville confident ahead of SheBelieves tournament with Lionesses
Photo by Alex Grimm/GettyImages

Phil Neville explained that tournament experience is vital for his squad as they prepare for the SheBelieves Cup and the England manager is in a positive mood. 

Building mentality

The 43-year-old called up young keepers Sandy Maciver and Ellie Roebuck to shadow experienced Carly Telford. And while Neville admits the decision may have disappointed 26-year-old Mary Earps, he says that it was better for the youngsters to get a feel for tournament football.

“I think if we get to Euro 2021, and people like Sandy and Ellie haven’t had that kind of experience, then we would have failed as coaches,” he said. Roebuck’s WSL form has been excellent, and although MacIver may not pick up many minutes at the tournament , it emphasises how highly Neville illustrates experience. 

Hope for others

In response to questions raised about Jodie Taylor, Neville was adamant that the door is open to anyone.

“If you’re performing at the top, top level then you’ll get in my squad,” Neville tells his players. 

On Taylor, he said the two have had “good discussions” and that “she knows what she had to do” in order to make the squad again. He finished by adding that he has lots of belief in the player and that she knows this, a reminder of the manager’s strong personal relationship with his players. But it wasn't all sunshine and roses for Neville. 

Untimely woes

The former Valencia coach was left upset at the injury to Beth Mead, a player who had been in really good form of-late. The Arsenal forward was forced off the pitch in the club’s 3-2 victory over Liverpool, ruling her out of the SheBelives tournament. Neville acknowledged it was a horrible shame. 

“Beth has probably been in the best form of her career this season,” he said. “She has gone onto another level in terms of attitude and performances.

“I was at the game at Chester the other night and you knew as soon as she went down that something wasn’t right. I went down to see her and was obviously concerned. Hopefully she will be back soon and it’s not too serious.”

Neville was clearly upset by the news but will be buoyant about his team’s chances at this tournament; this is illustrated in his youthful selections. England won the last SheBelieves trophy and will be determined to retain that trophy. 

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