Phil Neville: England Women boss not entirely to blame for poor form, says Rachel Yankey

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Rachel Yankey has welcomed scrutiny of the England Women's team and head coach Phil Neville but says their poor form is no reason to panic

Former England Women international Rachel Yankey says the team desperately need to "re-energise" but has warned against a hasty sacking of head coach Phil Neville.

England's 1-0 loss to Spain on Wednesday in the SheBelieves Cup was a seventh loss in 11 games, and a result that saw the 2019 champions finish third in the four-nation competition.

Neville guided the team to last year's World Cup semi-finals, but their poor form since that defeat to the USA has seen pressure on the former Manchester United and Everton player intensify.

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Martin Samuel explained on Sunday Supplement why the England Women’s team have wider problems to solve, rather than replacing manager Phil Neville. 

Neville confirmed after Wednesday's defeat to Spain that he intends to remain in the role but another former Lioness, Lianne Sanderson, is among those to have questioned whether the Football Association [FA] need to make a change in the near future.

Yankey, who was capped 129 times for England, told Sky Sports News: "The FA have been clear that they are backing him definitely until after the Euros. I think it's good that we are questioning the manager and the players. There has to be that accountability because it is not good enough.

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Former England striker Lianne Sanderson has questioned whether Phil Neville is the right person to take the Lionesses forward.

"I don't think its panic stations at this moment in time but we want the team to be playing better that they are.

"We've heard [England] staff and players speak about a World Cup hangover. I think there was disappointment because they truly believed they should have gone on and won the World Cup.

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Former England women’s boss Hope Powell has leapt to the defence of current beleaguered boss Phil Neville, believing the side’s current form should be put into perspective.

"It's taking quite a long time to get back into the swing of things. They need to re-energise themselves and do it quickly.

"I don't think it's as easy as saying that's all Phil Neville's fault. The players need to take responsibility for their performance."

England were without four first-team regulars for the SheBelieve Cup, with Neville including a number of youngsters such as Chloe Kelly and Lauren Hemp.

"It's not just about throwing the young players in there, it's got to be blended," Yankey said. "There's so much experience in there and you have to use that wisely to help the younger players.

"The bonus of having young players is that they are fearless, they don't know what they are going into.

"Sometimes you need to have an older head to rein people in and make sure they are doing the jobs they're being asked to do."

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