football, Women's

Women’s football: Team GB side not just England – Neville – BBC Sport



July 9, 2019
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Team GB at the London Olympics

Team GB lost 2-0 against Canada in the quarter finals on the London 2012 Olympics

Phil Neville says a Great Britain side at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 will not just be comprised of England players.

The England boss stressed “everybody will be treated equally” when he selects the squad for next summer.

“It’s not just going to be an England team, that’s for sure,” he said. “I can only pick 18 players for the Olympics.”

England finishing as one of the top three European teams at the Women’s World Cup secured qualification for Great Britain to take part.

England finished fourth place at the Women’s World Cup after a frustrating loss to Sweden in the third-place play-off.

The four home nationsagreed in Octoberto allow a GB women’s team to try to reach Tokyo, but qualification depended on England’s progress in France.

Neville confirmed he expects to scout players from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland before the tournament gets under way.

“I’ve been watching the home nations players now for 18 months. I’m fully aware of the quality out there,” he said.

“What I would say is that there is going to be a certain standard of player to get in that GB squad, and everybody will be treated equally.

“We need to take the best GB squad, the best players out there who have got the flexibility to play a game every two days in 41 degree-heat and the humidity there will be in Tokyo. And that’s with 18 players.

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“We’re picking from a pool probably of 45 players – to pick 18 is going to be very difficult and the selection process, I would have thought, starts when the league starts.

“I’ve got to look at the Scottish and Welsh players playing in the American league and make sure I give them the respect I give my own players and treat them no differently.”

Neville said he will be in contact with Scotland boss Shelley Kerr, Wales manager Jayne Ludlow and Northern Ireland’s Kenny Shiels.

With England hosting Euro 2021, the Lionesses will not be playing qualifiers over the next two years, unlike the other nations.

“Because we’ve got friendlies now, it will allow me to maybe go and watch a lot of the home nations play in the next 12 months,” Neville added.

“I’m aware of a lot of them because a lot of them play in the Women’s Super League, and the real elite ones are the ones I’m fully aware of.

“What’s important is that we treat them the same, they have the same communication lines from me as what I give my England players.

“It is almost as if I have two umbrellas now, a GB line and an England line, and I’ve got to make sure the lines of communication are no different.

“When I do pick players from the home nations, they’ve got to play the style of football that I want to play so we have to get them on board as quickly as possible.”

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