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By Alistair Magowan
BBC Sport
Should England fans and players”thank their lucky stars” Phil Neville is accountable for
After defeat Norway in their friendlies because the World Cup and a draw in Belgium, his stock has barely risen, although the claim of the Lionesses manager was said in jest.
Despite TV viewers in France for fourth-placed complete and England’s World Cup matches, questions remain about their strategies and if these players may implement them.
The long street to hosting Euro 2021 lets lots of time to improve.
Neville also has said he wants to take risks and move players from the comfort zones during the upcoming friendlies of England.
But are we any closer to learning about his staff and Neville following those Belgium and Norway results?
Neville sometimes says the wrong item, like in the World Cup when he predicted the third-place defeat Sweden a”nonsense” game.
Before the 3-3 draw with Belgium last week he said he regretted with that word, but argued it summed up his disappointment after losing to the United States times earlier.
Back in Norway, Neville explained he had”a vision and bravery no other trainer gets, therefore thank your lucky stars. I am here to stay”.
It functioned When it was meant to ruffle feathers, and it chimed with his aim to make things uncomfortable.
He says it is all part of the long-term strategy to take the Lionesses prior to hosting the Championship in 2 decades’ time.
Former England captain Casey Stoney said she had no problem with Neville’s words,” including:”it is a British mentality where you’ve got to be modest, unwanted and sometimes reserved and I do not think there is anything wrong with saying you’re good occasionally.”
True enough if England are to take a similar attitude they need to back it up with results.
Neville is to deliver on that front past 7, despite winning the SheBelieves Cup. At least his own criteria.
In stark terms, Neville shot England backwards at the World Cup, having missed out with a medal attained under Mark Sampson at Canada.
Neville would assert that it will take some time to instil a fashion where he wants his staff.
The draw from Belgium, ranked 14 places below England, and conquer Norway, that they beat 3-0 at the World Cup, came ahead of the beginning of the Women’s Super League, meaning players are return to full fitness.
However in Belgium, Neville did not accept that as a justification, even though he had been critical of the mistakes of his team, having worked on shape all week prior to the game.
The worries are the vulnerability of England from the trunk from broad areas and their distribution.
In their last four matches the side of Neville have conceded six goals in crosses and two.
Millie Bright along with defenders Steph Houghton also gave away the ball in places that were hazardous, leading to goals against Belgium and Norway.
Irrespective of their urge to play with grand soccer, before it will become a goal for the opposition, England need to enhance this portion of the sport.
Moving Lucy Bronze that is right-back into midfield has been a subtext with England to Neville’s experimentation, but in addition, it has been over-played.
Bronze adds drive and want but she is to the likes of midfielders Izzy Christiansen and Jill Scott, Jordan Nobbs, who are recovering from trauma or being rested.
In that role she is well-suited, where they have proven dangerous but going from leaves a gap on the flanks of England.
“Against Norway there was a lack of clarity in how England wanted to play with,” said former England goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis. “Overlapping full-backs were England’s individuality in the World Cup and that I do not think we had a DNA contrary to Norway.”
Positives from the 2 friendlies were limited, but the glowing light among the team has been midfielder Georgia Stanway, whose target lit up the first half of Norway.
Never one to shy away by shooting, the Manchester City player fired first step to the upper corner.
She also set up Jodie Taylor for the opening goal against Belgium using a weighted pass following a swift counter-attack.
Stanway produced her World Cup debut in France, but did not appear out of place, particularly and has been unlucky not to feature over the underwhelming Fran Kirby.
With the Chelsea midfielder injured for this latest excursion, Stanway may have given a nudge that when England take on Brazil on 5 at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium she would deserve to continue to her place to Neville.
The 20-year-old has supported up Neville’s judgement when he spoke of her”world-class possible” at the World Cup.
Now he wants to prove he has similar attributes prior to his words start to sound hollow.
From a liberal democracy into some savage dictatorship in four Decades

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