Gary Neville feels World Cup semi-final could just be the start for England
Watch Netherlands vs England from 7pm on Sky Sports Football on Thursday; kick-off is 7.45pm
Last Updated: 06/06/19 8:19am
Gary Neville believes English football is on the up as the country prepares for a second semi-final in 12 months.
Will England beat resurgent Dutch?
Netherlands vs England preview: Will England claim their place in the UEFA Nations League final? A resurgent Netherlands side stand in their way.
England, who reached the last four of the World Cup in Russia last summer, take on the Netherlands in the UEFA Nations League semi-finals on Thursday night after qualifying by winning a group which also contained Spain and Croatia.
England also boasted all four clubs in the two major European finals in the last week; Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal, who all finished behind Premier League champions Manchester City.
Former England defender Neville told Sky Sports News: "This tournament [Nations League] is important. My worry was that for this team, who are so good and have so much promise, that [the World Cup semi-final] was as good as it would get. This gives them that competitive feel.
"A lot of those players have had a big run-in. [Man] City, Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal who all played in major finals and championship run-ins. That can only be good for English football.
"I think English football generally is on the up. I think English young players are getting more respect around the world particularly after last summer and what this group achieved."
Seven of England's squad could be back in action in the Nations League just five days after the Champions League final.
Neville has criticised the scheduling of Europe's showpiece football event which took place three weeks after the end of the Premier League season.
He added: "You saw that Champions League final the other day. That is not representative of those two football clubs Liverpool and Tottenham and how Mauricio Pochettino and Jurgen Klopp have had them playing.
"You think about how they've played football in these last three or four years. High energy, pressing up the pitch, getting to the ball. That was a game that it didn't exist. That's got to be physical and a little bit mental because of the size of the occasion.
Watch England in the Nations League Finals
Get Sky Sports Football to watch England in the UEFA Nations League Finals. Find out more here.
"The idea of playing a final three or four weeks after the end of the season is just nonsense. Some of these players are playing after having no rest. Some of them have had three or four weeks rest and have been on holiday probably twice already.
"I just don't get it."
Preview: Will England beat resurgent Dutch?
Will England claim their place in the UEFA Nations League final? A resurgent Netherlands side stand in their way.
Gareth Southgate's team overcame Spain and Croatia during qualifying and they are now looking to claim another big scalp in Guimaraes on Thursday. They are playing for a place in the final against hosts Portugal, who beat Switzerland 3-1 in the other semi-final on Wednesday.
"It would be massive for all of us in an England shirt to be able to start winning trophies and to continue to win big matches," Southgate said in his pre-match press conference.
"That's the habit we want to create, that's the expectation we want to create and we've got players who are so hungry to do that."
However, Southgate knows it won't be easy...
Read our in depth match preview in full HERE!
Nations League live on Sky Sports
You can watch every minute of the Nations League finals live on Sky Sports.
Netherlands vs England - Thursday 6 June from 7pm, live on Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Main Event; Kick-off at 7.45pm.
Third and fourth place play-off - Sunday 9 June from 1.30pm, live on Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Main Event; Kick-off at 2pm.
Nations League final - Sunday 9 June from 7pm, live on Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Main Event; Kick-off at 7.45pm.
All the ways to watch...
Sky Sports subscribers can stream games via the Sky Sports app or the Sky Go app.
Non-subscribers can watch through NOW TV. A Sky Sports day pass is available for £8.99, a week pass for £14.99 or a month pass for £33.99. NOW TV can be streamed through a computer or apps.
If you can't watch live, then you can also follow the action with our live blogs on www.skysports.com and the Sky Sports app, with in-game clips and highlights throughout the match.