Women’s World Cup 2019: Phil Neville admits he had to give Beth Mead ‘biggest rocket’ to inspire best form

Neville challenged Mead to aim for the Moon rather than be content with going on holiday in Blackpool

Jack Rathborn
Monday 27 May 2019 11:50
Phil Neville 'absolutely convinced' England will have a good Women's World Cup

England coach Phil Neville admits he felt he had to deliver a rocket to Beth Mead to ensure she remained an integral part of England's squad and now believes she can reach the Moon.

The 24-year-old has hit five goals in 13 England appearances since making her debut last year and chipped in with an assist in the 2-0 win over Denmark on Saturday.

Neville says she is now ready for the June 7-July 7 showpiece in France but a lot has changed in the last year.

"I think if there's one player I've given the biggest rocket to, it was her and it was in January, over the phone... I said to her, 'Stop being too nice.'

"It's like, 'Do you want to go to Blackpool on your holidays, or do you want to go to the Moon?' She now wants to go to the Moon. Before she was happy to go to Whitley Bay and have fish and chips."

Neville added that the turning point came at the SheBelieves Cup in the United States earlier this year.

Mead came on as a substitute to score the winner against Brazil but was told by Neville she would stay on the bench for England's next match against the hosts.

Beth Mead is challenged by Stine Ballisager

"She literally stormed out of the room, angry," Neville added. "I thought, job done - she's ready now. She's now beginning to be a player.

"She's tougher. Tougher mentally. She has aggression. She doesn't give up... It's working. But we had to give her some real tough love."

Reuters contributed to this report

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments