England manager Phil Neville wants criticism aimed at him to protect his players
England football manager Phil Neville has said it was inevitable he would come in for criticism as some stage.
And after a run of poor form following the World Cup he would rather it's targeted at him than the players.
He said: “I knew it would come. Even the best managers go through periods when they are criticised, so I always knew it would come at some point. I wanted to protect my players from criticism, I wanted it to be directed at me. Hit me with it, not them.
“But we've got to be humble and respectful about where we are. In life sometimes you see the best characters in the team in the bad times, you see the ones that are on the journey with you and you actually get real good direction coming out of that."
He also added that the SheBelieves Cup is the best way to respond by competing against top teams.
“I think to talk like we do, you've got to beat the best teams and put your money where your mouth is. The language that we use means that we have got to perform against the best teams in the world.
“It is why we came to this tournament, to play against the best. The games programme we've got over the next 12 months pits us against the best teams in Europe and the world because we want to be judged by playing against the best.
“We want our players, who all believe and want to play against the best in the biggest arenas, on the biggest stages. That's the exciting challenge. We're not fearful of failing. We are actually excited about the challenge ahead of us.”
The US will play England in their first match of the SheBelieves Cup (Friday 12am GMT).