gary neville

Neville discusses why English football is so ‘healthy’ right now

Gary Neville has suggested that English football is in a good state of health due to the quality of the coaches that the division has attracted.

For many a year, the Premier League has claimed to be ‘the best league in the world,’ though results on the continental stage have suggested differently, with only one English side winning Europes biggest prize between 2009 and 2018, Chelsea in 2012.

However, 2019 proved to be a dominant season for English sides, all four finalists in both the Champions League and Europa League heralding from the Premier League, Liverpool and Chelsea picking up winners medals earlier this year following their victories over Spurs and Arsenal respectively.

While the English top-flight has both the lure and financial muscle to attract the game’s top talent to these shores, former Manchester United full-back Gary Neville believes that has been the arrival of some of the world’s best coaches that has elevated the stature of English football to its current level, adding that the likes of Guardiola, Klopp and Pochettino are also helping to improve the standard of young British coaches.

Embed from Getty Images

“Forget the players, when we’ve had the most successful times in European football, it’s when we’ve had the best coaches in this country, not necessarily the best players, because they always tend to go to Real Madrid or Barcelona, the Luis Figos and Zinedine Zidanes in the mid-noughties,” Neville told Sky Sports.

“If you bring Pep here, and Klopp here, Pochettino too, you’re going to do well in the Champions League. These coaches are also stimulating our younger British coaches. So we’ve got the best international talent, young British coaches coming through, and this game is healthy at this moment.

“I wasn’t saying this on Sky three or four years ago, I was worried and saying that with the money we were spending, we’re not getting the fruits of what we were spending. We are now. There are issues we need to resolve, with racism and other such things, but the game is healthy from a quality point of view. If we get rid of those other issues, then I think we’re in a good place.

“I’m really happy that in the last two years Michael Carrick, Scott Parker, my brother Phil, Stevie Gerrard, Frank Lampard and John Terry have gone into coaching, and Wayne Rooney wants to be a coach. I’m actually happy now that the balance is shifting towards some coming into punditry, and some coming into coaching.

Embed from Getty Images

“I did coaching and punditry when I finished. People who sit there as a coach and say punditry is easy, try it, because there aren’t many people who can articulate their thoughts into words so people at home can listen to it well. And people who are pundits who think coaching is easy, go and try to do that, get a message into 20 players on a training pitch of what it is that’s in your head! Both are completely different and difficult in their own way.

“But I’m also happy that Eddie Howe, Sean Dyche, Brendan Rodgers – who haven’t had the careers that some of those have had – are having good careers. Then you’ve got Pep Guardiola, Antonio Conte, Pochettino, Wenger, Ferguson, Mourinho – wonderful coaches in this Premier League, and the best coaches are the most important thing to this league.”

See also – Premier League Weekly Awards: Record-breaking Leicester, prodigious Pulisic, Xhaka’s meltdown