Phil Neville admits criticism of his England commentary was 'brutal' after he returns to the UK to discuss Manchester United future

The BBC received 445 complaints regarding Neville's commentary, and he has admitted that the criticism on social media was worse than he expected

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The Independent Football

Former England international Phil Neville has admitted the criticism he received following his commentary debut in England’s 2-1 defeat to Italy was “brutal”, and felt that he could do a better job after listening to himself.

Neville has returned back to the United Kingdom to discuss his future with Manchester United, as he is yet to discover whether he will be a part of incoming manager Louis van Gaal’s set-up. His commentary during the opening match of England’s ill-fated campaign drew 445 complaints to the BBC, and Neville has used his column with the broadcasters to admit he can do a better job.

In his BBC Sport column, Neville said: “It was straight after the game that I found out the reaction to it all. I went on social media and it was pretty brutal.

“I understand why - it was an England game, late on a Saturday night back home, and emotions were running high. And, doing that job, I am there to be shot at.'

“The content of what I was saying was fine, it was just the tone of my voice that was the problem.

“I played it back the next day and it did not sound like it was me commentating. I was trying to be somebody I wasn't, and I knew I could do better than that.”


Neville was also quick to praise his former Everton team-mate and close friend Tim Cahill for his wonder goal against the Netherlands. Cahill equalised after Arjen Robben opened to scoring with an incredible volley on his supposedly weaker left foot, and Neville has gone on to claim that it will go down as one of the greatest goals in World Cup history.

“Tim has probably been my closest friend for the past eight years and we still speak pretty much every other day even though he lives in New York now,” said Neville.

“To see him score a goal like that was brilliant. I spoke to him after the game and he was on cloud nine. It will go down as one of the great World Cup goals of all-time and I am so pleased for him.”

Neville’s future remains unclear, and while he went on to commentate on three other matches as well as appear as a regular pundit in the BBC studio, it is his position as coach with United that is under threat.

Van Gaal will arrive to take over the reins at Old Trafford once Netherlands’ World Cup campaign comes to an end. They face Costa Rica on Saturday for a place in the semi-finals, where victory would see them face the winner of Argentina v Belgium after they both won on Tuesday night.