Gary Neville and Michael Vaughan tell Club Wembley members of England importance
By Nicholas Veevers
Gary Neville believes English football has the right centre at St. George’s Park to create a long-term winning mentality for all teams.
The Three Lions Coach was speaking at a Club Wembley event alongside former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan in the City of London on Friday morning.
And having seen the various models for success illustrated by the likes of Spain, France and Germany at close quarters, the former Manchester United defender has his own thoughts on the matter.
Neville explained: “Players do want to play for England, but I think the question is, is it the most important thing for them?
“I think we have to try and achieve that in the next ten years, with a structure where St. George’s Park becomes the home of excellence in English football.
“Everything you could want in football is all there.
“So we need to change the mentality towards the England team and that comes from bringing players in at 15 right the way through to the Senior team and giving them an opportunity.”
Ashes-winning Vaughan, who played cricket for the North of England alongside Neville as a youngster, also has his own experience to draw upon albeit in a different sport.
And the ex-Yorkshire batsman provided an insight into the central contract situation by saying: “In cricket, your wages are paid by England so that’s your basic contract and you aren’t having a career unless you play for England.
“First and foremost as a kid, you grow up wanting to play for England but in football your contract is with your club.
“So I don’t know how you can have central contracts in football.”
Neville added: “What The FA and England are trying to do now is integrate players into the system, so they grow up being England players.
“So even though they’re doing an apprenticeship with their clubs, they’re playing for England U16s, U17s, U18s.
“There’s now a team in every single age group and this summer, there’s U19s, U20s and Under-21 games.
“You have to get the players thinking about England as part of their career as well as their club.
“That’s where we need to change, we get them and keep them in the system, a pathway, so the time we have with them at 15 and 16 explains to them the importance of England and the history and the players that have been before them.
“Germany went back to the drawing board 12 years ago and went back to young players who had grown up playing together.
“There has to come a point with England when we maybe have to take it on the chin and take a step backwards to take a step forward.”
Neville and Vaughan were talking at an event held exclusively for members of Club Wembley in the Gherkin at 10 St Mary Axe.
Club Wembley is a great way to gain access to the events all year round at the stadium including England matches, The FA Cup Final and a host of concerts this summer such as Bruce Springsteen and the Killers.
Photos of the event courtesy of Thomas Alexander, Red Photographic.