Neville: England not good enough to win Euro 2012

Updated: 2011-10-10 09:39


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Neville: England not good enough to win Euro 2012
Referee Wolfgang Stark (L) sends off England's Wayne Rooney (R) during their Euro 2012 Group G qualifying soccer match against Montenegro in Podgorica, Oct 7, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

LONDON - England are not good enough to win Euro 2012 because the players have "no mobility and can't keep the ball" according to former England defender Gary Neville.

Neville, the former Manchester United and England right-back who won 85 England caps and retired earlier this year, also said Wayne Rooney's sending off in Friday's 2-2 draw with Montenegro should not deflect attention away from what he sees as the team's real problems.

England, who sealed their place with Friday's draw, will start the tournament without Rooney, who will be suspended for at least one match.

"It's as though we think one world class player might be able to propel us to a major trophy," Neville, writing in the Mail on Sunday, said.

"And now we are talking about Rooney possibly missing two games at Euro 2012 when what we should be talking about is the spine of a team that has no mobility and can't keep the ball.

"When I look at it coldly, a team that has John Terry, Gary Cahill, Scott Parker, Gareth Barry, Darren Bent and Rooney in its central positions is nowhere near good enough to take on the major nations such as Spain.

"I'm not having a go at individuals; there are some very good players among those names. Collectively, Rooney aside, there is hardly any pace, very little invention and hardly any rotation of positions.

"The real issue is that the spine of the team is not good enough, as it stands, to take on Spain, Italy, France or Germany at Euro 2012."

England play world champions Spain in a friendly at Wembley on Nov 12 and Neville says because of the players the visitors have, the match is very important.

"Compare (England) with the spine of Spain: Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, Xabi Alonso, Xavi, David Villa and Fernando Llorente. That's the issue Fabio Capello now has to resolve and why the Wembley friendly is so much more than a practice.

"Never has a friendly been more important.

"It's like a Cup final. Somehow, Capello has to do something that no England manager has done in 15 years, and that is make the England players believe that this next match could be the most important of their life."

Spain, the reigning European champions, have also qualified for the finals along with England, Italy, Germany, Netherlands and co-hosts Poland and Ukraine.

All 16 qualifiers will be known by next month.