Gary Neville has given his thoughts on Sam Allardyce’s appointment as England manager – and admits he is still baffled by their woeful Euro 2016 display against Iceland.
Neville resigned along with Roy Hodgson in the aftermath of that defeat to Iceland and is still at a loss to explain their failure despite a raft of promising young players.
He will return to analysing defensive mistakes for Sky Sports next season despite his own failures with Valencia and England, while Allardyce takes over the national side.
“I had complete belief in what we were doing until the last 60 minutes against Iceland.,” Neville told the Sunday Times. “I never saw that coming. I just don’t know what happened in that last hour. I’d not seen us play like that in the previous two years. There wasn’t one game I could compare it to.
“We played well but conceded late against Russia. We went behind against Wales but carried on trying and got there. The goal didn’t quite come against Slovakia, but we dominated the three group games.
“I thought we’d get an equaliser against Iceland, I was absolutely convinced, of it, but there wasn’t an improvement and we, the coaches, accepted responsibility. We resigned on the spot, that’s as much responsibility as you can take, but sometimes the tide can turn in a football match. Credit to Iceland, who were fantastic.
“People look for one big reason why England keep failing. I’ve been an England player or coach in eight tournaments and the fall-out from this one is no different, but that group of players will achieve. Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Adam Lallana, John Stones, Ross Barkley, Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling, Jack Wilshere, Chris Smalling, Danny Rose, Kyle Walker, Danny Welbeck. I believe they’ll do well without ripping up the DNA and starting again.
“I’ll never lose hope they’ll get it right, that our time will come, even though I won’t be involved. There is no magic wand, just as there hasn’t been for 50 years. I’d like to wish Sam Allardyce all the very best. He will get a good group of professionals.
“I’ve seen unhappiness in previous England squads. The current lads are happy, they just need to be more ruthless, to overcome those moments which crop up in tournaments. They have to start going England’s way, those moments which kill you in football matches if they don’t.”