A huge question mark currently hangs over Phil Neville’s management as England continue to struggle following the World Cup.
There is no doubt that pressure is mounting on Phil Neville following England’s latest defeat, this time at the hands of Germany, but at this stage a sacking would be surprising.
When things are going wrong, you have to wonder if it is the players or the manager and his staff who are responsible for the poor performances.
First, it has to be said that England as Euro 2021 hosts are only playing friendlies ahead of the tournament, except for the players who will take part in Team GB’s Olympic campaign.
That makes a difference in term of intensity, engagement and motivation.
Now, if we analyse the problems: Is it the game plan? Do the players understand it? Do they execute it well or badly? Is the game plan suitable to the players’ strengths and weaknesses?
Is it the players? Are they performing well or badly? Why are they performing badly if that is the case?
I have seen some suggestions that a few players have become too comfortable. It is also easy to see that some players seem to perform better with their club side.
On top of that, there have been reports that some players did not take criticism during the World Cup very well and has affected their performances.
I do not think the FA should remove Phil Neville before the Olympics. That tournament, for me, should be the yardstick.
England have reached three international tournament semi-finals in a row. Those are results most countries can only dream off. Which other country has done that in their last three tournaments?
USA? Nope. Holland? Nope. Germany? Nope. France? Nowhere near. Japan? Nope. England? Yes.
The difference between success and failure is very small and I certainly think there is a big question mark over Neville’s ability to lead England to a final.
So what should he do to improve the current situation? Certainly, he could introduce real competition for places, dropping the players who have struggled for a number of games.
Key players have earned their status over the years with their performances and value on and off the pitch. But that credit should not be unlimited. Play players in a position where they can perform adequately. Find tactics that really suits the players strengths.
Neville certainly tried to depart from Sampson’s defensive style that plateau’d twice and showed its limits. But I still have the feeling that he is trying to implement a style that is not in tune with what his players can produce.
I certainly believe a few younger players would fit his style more easily. There is still time to transition and introduce them before 2021 and towards 2023.
Players and their coach must do better in 2020 otherwise I can see it being the end of the road for him, his staff, and those who don’t perform well enough