Sport Soccer

Sunday 18 March 2018

Phil Jagielka: Gary Neville’s sessions just like watching Monday Night Football

Phil Jagielka reveals how England assistant is using video analysis to prepare defence for Mario Balotelli and Luis Suárez.


Phil Jagielka has revealed how Gary Neville is hosting personal Monday Night Football-style sessions with the England players to prepare them for facing Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica.

Neville is part of Roy Hodgson’s England staff and the Sky television pundit is using his experience of utilising video analysis to examine the strengths and weakness of players.

Neville is often telling the England stars where they have gone wrong for their clubs on Monday Night Football, but it is the Italy players with whom he is now picking fault.

Central defender Jagielka will come up against Mario Balotelli, the former Manchester City striker, in the first Group D game against Italy on Saturday, while Liverpool’s Luis Suárez is still hoping to be fit for Uruguay.

“The teams we’re playing against, we know a few of the strikers already because they play in the Premier League or some of the big clubs around Europe, so you’ve an idea of what you’re up against,” Jagielka said. “But there’s so much video you can get hold of. We’ve got three video analysis people here.

“Obviously, Gary Neville’s more than capable of taking you through a video or two. It’s pretty much like watching Monday Night Football, with more of a personal touch, and he can’t tell you off.

“We’ve got all the equipment that we need. We’ll look at the Italian pairings, those who could potentially play up front for Italy, get that game out of the way and then move on to Uruguay and Costa Rica.

“We’ve played against Balotelli. He’s a character. He scores goals. He’s got fantastic ability and a fantastic shot on him, especially with the way these balls move. Joe Hart will be desperate for us to make sure he doesn’t get too many opportunities to strike it. We’ll look in more detail closer to the game with the dos and don’ts and, hopefully, make the right decisions, play well and come away with the points.”

While Neville is using technology to help the England players, Jagielka admits he is still getting to grips with Twitter after sending his first “tweet of death”.

Jagielka was rested for England’s game against Ecuador, but he posted a picture of himself with Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge on the substitutes’ bench with the message “a decent start” just as Ecuador scored. “It was perfect timing, wasn’t it?” said Jagielka. “I wasn’t involved and I just wanted to wish the boys good luck, but it took me too long to work out how to do anything and by the time I’d pressed send, literally 20 seconds later, Ecuador scored.

“I was thinking ‘how do I delete this now’, and Bainesy told me: ‘You’ve got no chance, just deal with it.’ I’ve had a bit of ribbing off the lads. It’s been classed the ‘tweet of death’. I wouldn’t do it in a game I was involved in, obviously.

“I’m still early days with Twitter, so please bear with me and I’ll try to get better. Everyone took it in fairly good spirits and no one’s too annoyed with me.”


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