Since ending has career as the best right back of his generation, Gary Neville has established himself as football’s undisputed No.1 pundit.
There is no-one in the game who talks more sense than the tough talking ex-England and Manchester United hero who was grew up in the famous Class of 92 that produced David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and his younger brother Phil.
He has already been a revelation as Sky Sports’ most dynamic expert analyst, a million light years better than the excitable Scotsman Andy Gray. And he has also made his mark as a columnist.
Writing in this weekend’s Mail on Sunday, Nev the Red put it simply for the fans when he explained why England do not have a prayer of winning Euro 2012 – with or without Wayne Rooney.
“The real issue is that the spine of the team is not good enough,” explains Neville, who won 85 England caps, in his assessment of Fabio Capello’s chances of winning next summer’s tournament.
“When I look at it coldly, a team that has John Terry, Gary Cahill, Scott Parker, Gareth Barry, Darren Bent and Rooney in its central positions is nowhere near good enough to take on the major nations such as Spain.
“I’m not having a go at individuals; there are some very good players among those names.
“Rooney aside, there is hardly any pace, very little invention and hardly any rotation of positions. Compare that with the spine of Spain: Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, Xabi Alonso, Xavi, David Villa and Fernando Llorente.”
England take on Spain in a friendly at Wembley next month with Neville keen to see a number of younger players given a chance.
“Let’s be clear, England are not as good as Spain but you can’t just accept they’re better,” said Neville.
“You have to find a way to stop them, to disrupt the rhythm and to hurt them going forward – because England need to believe that, in a one-off, they can beat Spain.
“The rest of Europe is watching and if Spain do what most people think they will do and destroy us, just like France did in February 1999 at Wembley when they were world champions, then England will go into Euro 2012 thinking they have no chance.
“There are younger players – Chris Smalling, Kyle Walker, Phil Jones, Tom Cleverley, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck – who are mobile, talented and not tainted by previous failures.
“Somehow, Capello has to mould those with the more experienced players into a team to compete with Spain because the team that played on Friday would be well beaten. It’s now time for Capello to be brave.”