Women's Senior
Women's Senior

Middlesbrough in the spotlight as Phil Neville relives favourite moment in football

Friday 04 Oct 2019
Phil Neville has won 16 of his 28 matches as England Women's head coach

On Saturday, Phil Neville will return to the venue that staged his greatest moment in football. 

The England Women’s head coach will take his Lionesses to a sold-out Riverside Stadium for a testing international match against Brazil.

And it was in Middlesbrough that one of Neville’s favourite memories played out.

England v Brazil
  • A Women's International
  • 12.45pm, Saturday 5 October
  • Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough
  • Live on BBC One
“One of the greatest feelings I’ve ever had in football came at the Riverside,” he explained, “when Manchester United clinched the Premier League title there in 1996, my first season in the first team.

“I was left-back that day and it was the most nervous I have ever been on a football pitch; I couldn’t feel my legs before the game.

“We were in the title race with Newcastle and we needed to win or draw to win the league. Thankfully we won 3-0 and it remains one of the best days of my career.

“You dream all your life of winning the Premier League and the fact I lifted my first title at the Riverside means that stadium will always have a special place in my heart.”

With seven players in his squad hailing from the north-east, Saturday’s match will not just mean a lot to Neville but also the likes of Jill Scott, Carly Telford, Jordan Nobbs, skipper Steph Houghton and Beth Mead, who began her career in Middlesbrough’s centre of excellence.

Neville added: “We’ve got so many girls from this area in the squad and every time we meet up they always ask me ‘When are we playing in the north-east?’

“But that’s understandable; it’s their home and this match will no doubt be really special for them.

“We’re lucky that we can call upon so many good players from the north-east.

“That just shows what football means to people in this part of the world.

“That’s why I am particularly pleased to be able to bring my players to Middlesbrough at the weekend.”

There have been changes to Neville’s initial 20-player squad with the withdrawals of Millie Bright, Demi Stokes, Abbie McManus and Fran Kirby and the inclusion of Gemma Bonner, Lucy Staniforth and Melissa Lawley.

After Brazil, England will head to Setubal to take on Portugal next Tuesday.

The next home match is against Germany at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 9 November with the Lionesses on course for another sell-out.


By Glenn Lavery