06 December 2019

Former England netball head coach Tracey Neville on the prospect of motherhood and her brothers Phil and Gary

Former England netball head coach Tracey Neville has said she and her brothers will have a 'huge challenge' trying to persuade her child to play the sports they're passionate about.

Twin Phil, one half of the footballing brothers, is now head coach for the Lionesses and eldest sibling Gary part owns football team Salford City as well as being a TV pundit.

Tracey is expecting her first child with partner Michael Timmins in March next year.

She said: “It seems like there’s more investment in the Lionesses at the moment so there’s going to be a huge challenge between me and Phil and Gary about what the kid will play.

“Hopefully they’ll choose their own sport, like golf or cricket!

“But I have a feeling I’m going to be blessed with someone who watches football 24/7 or a netballer who is just obsessed.”

Neville hopes that her child will have a similar upbringing to the one she, Phil and Gary enjoyed. Their father, Neville Neville, was a cricketer and the director of Bury FC and their mother, Jill Neville, was the club's former general manager and played a variety of sports.

She added: “Parenting is a challenge but I’ve faced bigger. Me, Gary and Phil grew up watching from the sidelines when our parents played. 

“I hope our child is similarly inspired by us as parents to go out and do sport themselves.”

Tracey with her twin brother and Lioness's boss Phil Neville (Instagram: Tracey Neville)

The former head coach announced she would be stepping down from the top job in July after securing a bronze medal at the Netball World Cup.

Neville hasn't left the sport behind as she was a part of the commentary team for Sky Sports last weekend for the Roses match against South Africa, but she does admit she needed some time for herself.

She said: “I felt I really needed that break and a step away from the sport.

“When you’re in a head coach role you can get very isolated and people don’t always welcome you into an environment, but now that the Roses are in competition again there’s a bit of jealousy. 

“I don’t think it’s a case of wanting to lead the team again, but when you’ve been part of something for five years it’s really hard to stand on the sidelines and watch. 

“That said, they’ve got my support. We created something as a team and I hope they can continue it for the next five years.”

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