Gary Neville is confident the current England squad can deliver a major trophy and not fail like the 'Golden Generation' he was part of
London: Gary Neville is confident the current England squad can deliver a major trophy and not fail like the 'Golden Generation' he was part of.
Between 1995 and 2007, Neville played in some stellar England teams that contained the likes of Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Frank Lampard, John Terry, Michael Owen and Rio Ferdinand.
Collectively they were known as the 'Golden Generation' of English football, but the closest they came to glory was the quarter-final stages in three successive tournaments under Sven-Goran Eriksson.
Neville is now part of the coaching staff in the England set-up. Under manager Roy Hodgson, the Three Lions won all 10 of their Euro 2016 qualifiers and earned praise for their 2-0 friendly win over France last November.
Neville thinks England are not destined to fail forever and believes the crop of players at Hodgson's disposal has the potential to end England's 50-year wait for a trophy.
A disappointed Man United striker Wayne Rooney after the 3-3 draw against Newcastle in an EPL tie at St James' Park earlier this month. United were leading twice before Newcastle ensured they split points
"There will come a point where we get that generation to succeed," Neville said in an interview with former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell in GQ Magazine.
"Of course we need to improve, have more than the 32 per cent of English players we have in the Premier League now. There are four serial winners — Brazil, Argentina, Italy and Germany. Then others who win but dip after — Spain, France did it, England in the 60s... It will come again.
"On our day we can beat anyone. Then the question is can we sustain it over a tournament? That remains to be seen. Roy picks the players, but I have strong belief in them.
"If we can keep this group together, this can become 'the' generation."
Neville enjoyed far more success on the domestic front during his career. The right-back was part of Sir Alex Ferguson's all-conquering Manchester United side that dominated English football throughout the majority of the last 25 years.
Ferguson won 49 trophies during his 26-year tenure at Old Trafford and it has come as little surprise to Neville that the club have suffered a slump since his departure three years ago.
"Manchester United has been going 120 years. It is impossible to retain success year after year after year," said the defender, who played 602 times during a 19-year spell at the club.
"When Sir Alex Ferguson was manager, everyone said that when he leaves there will be a period of transition. Now people don't want to accept it; they aren't enjoying it. There is a dip, but it is normal."
Ferguson used to take a hands-on approach at United, but Neville thinks that is no longer possible.
He added: "The traditional manager-player relationship is dead. It is going to become head coach/sporting director/CEO depending on the structure. The idea of the manager running the club is finished," said Neville, who took his first job in management two months ago when he was appointed Valencia boss.