Gary Neville gives Boris Johnson both barrels over coronavirus crisis

Date published: Friday 20th March 2020 1:43

Manchester United legend Gary Neville has criticised the leadership of Prime Minister Boris Johnson during the current coronavirus crisis.

The FA, Premier League and EFL have said they will extend the suspension of all games until April 30, although they are committed to completing the season.

Johnson has held daily press conferences to share advice with citizens over coronavirus, but Neville – like many of us – is frustrated by the confusion surrounding the messages so far.

“In moments of crisis the real leaders stand up and make tough decisions, which sometimes go against the grain of essentially what’s happening,” Neville said on Sky Sports’ The Debate.

“The government at that time [the beginning of the pandemic], through Boris Johnson, were essentially zig-zagging all over the place with their messages.

“Even today he’s talked about ‘let’s protect each other.’ I watched his address earlier on and he talked about self-isolating, protect yourself and each other, be resilient on this, but he’s not shut clubs, bars, restaurants, pubs – schools aren’t closing until tomorrow evening.

“The messages are so conflicting from the government and, to be fair, economically driven at times, I have to say. I felt the Premier League saying that the games would continue for another weekend was almost ‘winging it’ to try and get another round in.

“I understand the complexities of it, but I do feel decisive leadership is important […] Every time I see the chief medical officer [Chris Whitty] stood next to Boris Johnson, he looks more and more uncomfortable,” he said.

 

 

“He did explain his strategy with the Prime Minister present, and then was challenged by 200 other scientists over the weekend and then Matt Hancock on a Sunday programme suggested they weren’t going to pursue that strategy.

“Ultimately, I’m not a scientist, but you have to have consistency of message and decisive leadership.​”

Neville is certainly doing his part in the crisis by closing the two hotels he owns with Ryan Giggs and allowing NHS staff to sleep in the rooms for free amid the heavy workload caused by the pandemic.

 

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