World Cup: England coach Gary Neville keen to avoid complacency against San Marino

Neville: Don't disregard San Marino

Gary Neville: Keen to avoid complacency against San Marino

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England coach Gary Neville hopes that his players can use the fear factor to their advantage against San Marino on Friday.

England take on the Group H minnows at Wembley ahead of a far tougher fixture away to Poland next week.

And Neville believes players should try to scare themselves by thinking about the consequences of failure in order to avoid complacency.

"We certainly do not want to go into the Poland game with anything other than a very good victory on Friday."

Gary Neville

"People can look at the San Marino game and think it's a formality," Neville told Sky Sports.

"And I'm not going to stand here as an England coach and say I'm not fully aware of our responsibilities to win this match.

"But when I was a player playing in this type of game in the past the way I prepared for it was to scare myself and think of what would happen if we didn't win and that's enough to get you focused.

"Each player will have his own way of preparing but as a coach it's just a case of doing the right things - the patience of knowing that they're going to have men behind the ball.

"But it's important in these games that complacency doesn't creep in in any way shape or form because international football is difficult.

"And we certainly don't want to go into the Poland game with anything other than a very good victory on Friday."


With Tuesday's trip to Poland looming on the horizon, Neville admits the San Marino game could be an opportunity to use England's squad players.

He added: "I think on Friday night Glen Johnson isn't going to play, Steven Gerrard isn't going to play and there's talk of several other players struggling with minor injuries.

"So I'm sure that Roy will be looking at protecting players as much as he possibly can because we don't want to be sending any players back to their clubs injured.

"And he may look at Friday night as an opportunity to play players and give them an opportunity to perform in a game that hopefully we can win and win well."

Neville linked up with Hodgson as a Three Lions coach in May but has remained in his role at Sky analysing on a weekly basis the players he then takes charge of in the international game.

But Club England managing director Adrian Bevington said: "Gary is a measured person and we think he is doing a fantastic job.

No problem

"When we hired Gary we were very clear in the knowledge that he is an employee of Sky and will be participating in football programmes throughout the season.

"From our point of view it's not a problem. He always makes sure he is fully up to speed with any issues before he goes on air and we work very closely as a group."

Hodgson is also unconcerned about the prospect of any Neville gaffes - especially given his own experience of revealing Rio Ferdinand's omission to members of the public on the tube.

"I'm on tube trains walking round London, he's on the TV," said Hodgson.

"I rarely see what Gary says but I trust him implicitly to say the right things and to be very cautious.

"If he makes a mistake on occasion I'll put him in the same category as myself."