Gary Neville to deliver motivational speech to England rugby squad
Former Manchester United and England right-back Gary Neville is to give a speech to England’s rugby players on the pride of playing for your country.
Neville – widely reported to have led a proposed strike by England players over Rio Ferdinand’s drugs ban – has been asked to talk about the spirit of Euro 96 by England’s new rugby coach Stuart Lancaster.
Lancaster said: “I am trying to remind the players about the pride and honour and standing of being an international rugby player in this country; it is massive.
“When Gary Neville says it is an honour, it is an honour. And if the players understand that, then you get more responsible behaviour as well.”
Neville will be joined by representatives from the worlds of rugby league, cricket and even wounded soldier Simon Brown, as Lancaster’s squad digest a series of talks on what it means to play for – and fight for – your country.
He added: “Gary never turned down playing for his country. He is one of the most capped England players ever.
“He was frustrated, because he never felt he achieved with England what he wanted to achieve.
“He wants to help the players understand that, when you are playing for your country and you get it right, like England did at Euro 96, how powerful that is, to get the nation behind you.
“The ‘Three Lions on the shirt’ – we all felt that.
“Gary wants to help our team get that feeling. His message is good. He is not doing this for any other reason than he wants to try to help.
“His brother Phil also played for England, his sister Tracey played for England at netball. When I asked him, he said it was an honour to do it, as did everyone else.”