Neville: Not even Ferguson could have won World Cup
Former Manchester United full-back Gary Neville claims that not even Sir Alex Ferguson could have won the World Cup with England in South Africa last year.
England were knocked out at the last 16 stage after being demolished by Germany but Neville concedes that, even had they got further, they could not have challenged eventual winners Spain.
“Ferguson may have got more out of the squad,” Neville told BBC’s Sportsweek.
“But the reality is would we have beaten Spain in the last World Cup? No, because they were better than England.”
Neville, who appeared 85 times for England, recently referred to his England career as ‘a waste of time’ and says that the international team need higher calibre players to compete with other football powerhouses.
“The analogy I use is if a man takes a woman out 85 times and then she’s not your girlfriend at the end of it, you’ve wasted a lot of time,” he continued.
“You measure success by achieving things. We got to the quarter-finals but that’s falling short because we were not getting to European Championships and World Cup finals.”
“Over the last 10 or 15 years, Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and Brazil have all been better than England.”
“We need more players of higher quality who can keep the ball.”
However, the 36-year-old, who spent his entire career at Manchester United, does hold out hope for the future of English football after seeing the performances of their current prospects.
“I see a different type of player coming through – a more intelligent type of player. Players who grew up in the 1970s and 80s watched a more straight up-and-down football,” he said.
“But since the likes of [Gianfranco] Zola, [Dennis] Bergkamp, [Eric] Cantona and [Cristiano] Ronaldo came in, players are looking at more technically skilled and cultured players and England will get the benefit.”
“The likes of [Jack] Wilshere and [Tom] Cleverley will give England a better chance of winning the World Cup.”
“You cannot win [major tournaments] without keeping possession of the ball – and I see players now who can keep the ball more.”