LONDON (AFP) – Former England defender Gary Neville claims his country will struggle at Euro 2012 because the majority of the players have “no mobility and very little invention”.
Fabio Capello’s team booked their place at next year’s finals in Poland and the Ukraine thanks to a 2-2 draw against Montenegro on Friday.
But Neville, who won 85 caps for England, was unimpressed with the spluttering nature of the English performance as they threw away a two-goal lead and had star striker Wayne Rooney sent off.
Rooney will miss at least the first of England’s group matches in the finals and the ban could extend to two games.
But former Manchester United right-back Neville believes the controversy over Rooney’s needless red card for a petulant kick is distracting attention from the real problem.
He insists the spine of Capello’s team against Montenegro, which included captain John Terry, Gareth Barry and Darren Bent, is not good enough to win matches against the top European countries.
Writing in the Mail on Sunday, he said: “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.
“We’re now talking about Rooney possibly missing two games of 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. But collectively, Rooney aside, there is hardly any pace, very little invention and hardly any rotation of positions.”