England career "waste of time" says Neville

LONDON, Aug 21, 2011 (AFP) - Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has described his England career as a "waste of time" and claimed his country have no chance of winning a major trophy for the next decade.

Neville played in three European Championships and two World Cups for England, but he was never as comfortable playing for his country as he was for United.

The right-back, who retired from football last season, played in the England team that reached the Euro 96 semi-finals and he claims the team are unlikely to improve on that performance in the near future because the culture of English football breeds technically inferior players.

Writing in his autobiography 'Red', serialised in the Mail on Sunday, he said: "We have our football culture in this country based on the traditional power player and I don't see us competing seriously for a major tournament for at least 10 years. I'm afraid we still have a lot of catching up to do."

Neville believes the abuse England's players received from fans and pundits when they went out of tournaments often made it an unenjoyable experience and left many fearing failure.

"There have been times when I reflected on my international career and just thought: 'Well that was a massive waste of time'," Neville said.

"Sorry for sounding sour, but my best mate, David Beckham, got butchered after the World Cup in 1998, then my brother, Phil, after Euro 2000.

"The whole lot of us got it in the neck at other times. Sometimes we deserved it, but playing for England was one long roller-coaster: some ups and downs, but also quite a few moments when you're not really sure if you're enjoying the ride.

"It should be fantastic, the best moments of your life. But there is no doubt that too many players spend too much time fearing the consequence of failure when they pull on an England shirt."

Neville also admits success with United meant more to him then doing well for England.

"I regard myself as patriotic but, truth be told, playing for England was a bonus," he said.

"Winning for my club was always the most important thing and given a straight choice of a European Cup with United or a European Championship with England, it's United every time."

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