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Great Britain Olympic squad won’t just be an England team – Phil Neville

England boss Neville will lead Team GB at Tokyo 2020.

Phil Neville has some tough decisions to make over Olympic selection (Richard Sellers/PA)
Phil Neville has some tough decisions to make over Olympic selection (Richard Sellers/PA)

England boss Phil Neville has stressed “everybody will be treated equally” when he selects the Great Britain squad for next summer’s Olympics.

England finishing as one of the top three European teams at the Women’s World Cup secured qualification for Great Britain to take part in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and Neville has said he will be in charge of that side.

“I can only pick 18 players for the Olympics,” Neville said.

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Great Britain last competed in the Olympics as hosts in 2012 (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“We’ve got 23 players in this squad (England’s for the World Cup) so I’ve got to lose five players from this squad before I even start thinking about the home nations.

“I’ve been watching the home nations players now for 18 months. I’m fully aware of the quality out there.

“What I would say is that there is going to be a certain standard of player to get in that GB squad, and everybody will be treated equally. It’s not just going to be an England team, that’s for sure.

“We need to take the best GB squad, the best players out there who have got the flexibility to play a game every two days in 41 degree-heat and the humidity there will be in Tokyo. And that’s with 18 players.

“We’re picking from a pool probably of 45 players – to pick 18 is going to be very difficult and the selection process, I would have thought, starts when the league starts.

“I’ve got to look at the Scottish and Welsh players playing in the American league and make sure I give them the respect I give my own players and treat them no differently.”

Neville said he will be in contact with Scotland boss Shelley Kerr, Wales manager Jayne Ludlow and Northern Ireland’s  Kenny Shiels.

With England hosting Euro 2021, the Lionesses will not be playing qualifiers over the next two years.

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Scotland appeared at their first Women’s World Cup this summer (Richard Sellers/PA)

And Neville said: “Because we’ve got friendlies now, it will allow me to maybe go and watch a lot of the home nations play in the next 12 months.

“I’m aware of a lot of them because a lot of them play in the Women’s Super League, and the real elite ones are the ones I’m fully aware of.

“What’s important is that we treat them the same, they have the same communication lines from me as what I give my England players.

“It is almost as if I have two umbrellas now, a GB line and an England line, and I’ve got to make sure the lines of communication are no different.

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Phil Neville’s England team finished fourth at the Women’s World Cup (Richard Sellers/PA)

“When I do pick players from the home nations, they’ve got to play the style of football that I want to play so we have to get them on board as quickly as possible.”

England finished fourth overall at the World Cup after losing 2-1 both in their semi-final against eventual winners the United States and then in their third place play-off against Sweden on Saturday.

Scotland, in what was their debut Women’s World Cup finals campaign, failed to get out of their group following 2-1 defeats against England and Japan and then a 3-3 draw with Argentina.

PA

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