Gary Neville has criticised the Football Association’s handling of the behaviour of England players during the recent international break.
After playing as England defeated Scotland 3-0 in a World Cup qualifier at Wembley on Friday night, Wayne Rooney made headlines for the wrong reasons when he was pictured, apparently intoxicated, at a wedding held at the national team’s hotel on Saturday night and the early hours of Sunday morning.
Captain for Manchester United and his country, the 31-year-old had been unlikely to face Spain in a friendly the following Tuesday due to a minor knee injury.
Nevertheless, the images caused a storm of criticism around the experienced forward, who issued an apology only to lash out at the media’s coverage of the incident after the weekend draw with Arsenal.
Further unconfirmed reports have claimed other players attended a local nightclub, while Liverpool duo Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson are alleged to have driven from London to Bournemouth, where they attended a strip club, before returning to camp.
Neville, who earned 85 caps for England and served as Roy Hodgson’s assistant before stepping down after the team’s humiliating exit from Euro 2016 in the round of 16, is unimpressed by the FA’s response to the negative publicity.
“A “Moral high ground” forced apology and you open a can of never ending worms!! Open season now. Handled terribly. Naivety beyond belief….,” he tweeted.
“A precedent has now been set for every minor incident and players day off cancelled! Won’t work!!!”
Challenged on the England players’ behaviour during their time off between matches, Neville added: “It had happened for the previous 4 years without incident … The players go home with their clubs? Why not trust them?
“With their clubs they go home every lunchtime and train at 10am next day? You have to trust them. If they are going to drink they will.
“Looking at the programme for 8 wks for teams in EU this was probably the best night to have a few drinks. A friendly after beating Scotland.
“Anyway we now have a situation where two good lads in Lallana / Henderson have to be forced to make an apology !! Shocking handling of this.
“The @FA have a huge void in experience … on comms side. All over the place. Briefing v [against the] Capt!!”
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