Phil Neville is on a quest to secure Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020 with a Team GB football team.
As Phil Neville, the English Lionesses manager spoke to the Guardian, he discussed the task ahead.
He is trying to form a team of English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish female footballers, to challenge for a gold medal at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
Phil Neville says he is reaching far and wide in his quest to unite competitors and compete in a whole new environment.
He has been seeking advise from various fields, including coaches and athletes from various sports.
At a post World Cup FIFA conference in Milan, Neville spoke of sources of inspiration for his new project.
“The biggest thing that I learned, particularly from the rowers, was to get in an Olympic rowing squad there’s a certain level of performance, times, professionalism, that they need to obtain.”
“To be an Olympian for GB you’ve got to reach certain levels of performance consistently.”
“That’s the biggest thing I’ve taken from meeting these great Olympian coaches. It’s not just a given.”
“I’m an English coach. People think ‘you’re just going to pick English players’. No. I’ve challenged my English players, and the Northern Irish, Wales, and Scottish players I’ve met.”
“To get in this Olympic squad, you’ve got to live and behave like an Olympian.”
Neville is under no illusion of the magnitude of playing in the Olympics.
“When I was young it was Daley Thompson, the superhuman effort, collapsing to the floor at the finish line.”
“Then you think of great memories of Zola Budd versus Mary Decker. Denise Lewis, Jess Ennis.”
“When you think about great sporting moments it’s often the Olympics – that shows you what role it plays in society.
Neville’s England Women’s team had by all accounts a successful World Cup. But this team will be a whole new challenge.