May 31, 2012 | In: Articles

Gary Neville: Be realistic about England’s Euro 2012 chances

England coach Gary Neville says that the way the nation have celebrated reaching major tournaments in the past has been “embarrassing”.

Neville thinks England’s expectations should not be so high, just because they have qualified for a major finals.

He said: “After qualifying in Italy in 97-98 and then against Greece in 2001-02, it was almost – when you look back now – a little bit embarrassing.

“All we’d done is qualify. But it was like we’d reached the World Cup final.”

The former Manchester United and England defender, 37, added: “It’s now about managing expectations slightly differently and probably being a little bit more realistic about what we are and where we’ve been.

“It’s about showing that humility to say ‘Spain are there, France did win World Cups, Brazil are there’. We are trying to get to them rather than thinking we are there already just by qualifying for a tournament.”

In Euro 2012 qualifying, a 2-2 draw in Montenegro sealed England’s place at the finals, during which they will be based in a city centre location rather than a remote base. In 2010, England were in Rustenburg – two hours north of Johannesburg – after criticisms of their stay in Baaden Baaden in 2006.

Neville explained the Krakow city centre choice by saying: “We’re asking the players to do the same thing that they are used to doing in the days between a game.

“This time we are staying in a central location so they are not isolated in the countryside, which can be a little bit boring at times. I don’t want the ‘oh, diddums’ to come out – but the reality is that players would not pen themselves into a countryside location between a Saturday and a Tuesday game for their clubs.

“We are saying ‘do what you would normally do with your club’. You can’t repeat a home environment – the kids won’t be there, your wife or girlfriend won’t be there – but players should try to do what they normally do.”

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