Neville hits back at ‘keyboard warrior’ Verheijen over World Cup comments

Neville hits back at ‘keyboard warrior’ Verheijen over World Cup comments

Phil Neville has labelled Raymond Verheijen a “keyboard warrior” after the former Wales assistant boss criticised the current Women’s World Cup and male coaches working there.

In a post on Twitter on Thursday, outspoken Dutchman Verheijen said the standard of play at the tournament in France was “shocking” and that teams being coached by “clueless left overs from the men’s game” was among the reasons.

Verheijen said: “So far, it would have been better if the World Cup had been played behind closed curtains. The level of play is shocking. Like watching grass grow.

England Women manager Phil Neville
England Women boss Phil Neville was speaking to the media ahead of Friday’s clash with Argentina (John Walton/PA)

“One of the reasons is that most teams are coached by clueless left overs from the men’s game rather than by the best female coaches.”

England boss Neville was asked about those comments at his press conference ahead of Friday’s Group D clash with Argentina in Le Havre.

And he said: “He’s had a go at (Sir Alex) Ferguson, (Arsene) Wenger, (Mauricio) Pochettino, (Jurgen) Klopp. Every top manager in the world, he’s had a go at.

“That probably is aimed at me, because when I was at Man United (on the coaching staff), he used to have a go at David Moyes. He has a go at everyone.

“He is a keyboard warrior. He sits and talks a fantastic game, but I never see him working in top-level football. That is why he can’t get employed.

“We can all talk a good game. Raymond – go out there and get a job. Go win a Champions League, go and win a Premier League. That’s what Wenger does, the people he is having a go at.”

He added: “It’s why he has an egg next to his name on Twitter.”

Neville’s side, having opened their campaign with the 2-1 win over Scotland in Nice on Sunday, will seal a place in the last 16 with another victory on Friday.

The Lionesses face an Argentina outfit who are ranked 37th in the world and had a two-year spell with no matches and no coach between 2015 and 2017.

Argentina secured their first ever point at a Women’s World Cup finals, in their third campaign, when they drew 0-0 with Japan on Monday.

Neville, whose team are ranked third in the world, said: “We’re going to go all out for the win.

“We know six points on the board puts us into the next round, and then going into the third game (they face Japan in Nice next Wednesday) we can start mapping out the direction of the last 16. Ultimately, our aim to finish top of the group.

“I think they (Argentina) really surprised Japan, and they surprised us in a little way, because that is the first time they have played like that. Since the draw we have been covering all the games, and it is the first time they have played that low, that organised.

“It was helpful for us to play them in the second game. Hopefully the energy they used in the first game will affect them, but we’ve got to start with a real tempo, and that’s what we aim to do.”

Neville said he thought he would make “one, two, three maybe changes” from the Scotland game for the match at the Stade Oceane.

And when asked if one might be in goal, taking out Karen Bardsley, he said: “Not decided yet.

Toni Duggan
Toni Duggan is set to miss out again (John Walton/PA)

“We have rotated the goalkeeper. Certain games suit certain keepers. Carly Telford and Mary (Earps) have a different profile to Karen Bardsley.”

Forward Toni Duggan, who has been recovering from a thigh issue that made her unavailable for the Scotland game, is set to be missing once again.

Neville said every other player is fit, meaning defender Demi Stokes comes into contention having sat out Sunday’s contest following a knee injury.