England career a 'waste of time' says Gary Neville

Gary Neville has warned England have no chance of winning a major trophy for the next decade and admitted he sometimes considered his international career a "waste of time".

The former Manchester United right-back, who retired last season, played in three European Championships and two World Cups for England, his best result the semi-finals at Euro 96.

And he claimed the national team are unlikely to improve on that performance in the near future.

Writing in his autobiography 'Red'. serialised in the Mail on Sunday, he said: "We have our football culture in this country based on the traditional power player and I don't see us competing seriously for a major tournament for at least 10 years.

"I'm afraid we still have a lot of catching up to do."

Neville also claimed the abuse the team received often made it an unenjoyable experience and left many players fearing failure.

"There have been times when I reflected on my international career and just thought: 'Well that was a massive waste of time'," Neville added.

"Sorry for sounding sour, but my best mate, David Beckham, got butchered after the World Cup in 1998, then my brother, Phil, after Euro 2000.

"The whole lot of us got it in the neck at other times. Sometimes we deserved it, but playing for England was one long roller-coaster: some ups and downs, but also quite a few moments when you're not really sure if you're enjoying the ride.

"It should be fantastic, the best moments of your life. But there is no doubt that too many players spend too much time fearing the consequence of failure when they pull on an England shirt."

Neville also admitted success with United meant more to him then doing well for England.

He said: "I regard myself as patriotic but, truth be told, playing for England was a bonus. Winning for my club was always the most important thing and given a straight choice of a European Cup with United or a European Championship with England, it's United every time."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy