Phil Neville believes people want to see him fail as England Women manager

England Women manager Phil Neville believes there are “probably people out there” who want to see him fail at the SheBelieves Cup.

Neville, who was appointed in January on a four-year contract amid accusations of sexism based on his activity on Twitter, has taken his squad to the United States for matches against the hosts USA, France and Germany.

Speaking ahead of their tournament-opener against France in Columbus on Thursday, Neville feels he should not be judged solely on the results of his first tournament and suggested defeats for England would be welcomed in some quarters.

“I don’t think I should be judged solely on this tournament. There are probably people out there that probably want me to lose all three games, and say ‘I told you so’,” Neville said.

“But ultimately I have got a four-year contract.

“I have the backing of (the Football Association’s head of women’s football) Sue Campbell and (technical director) Dan Ashworth, and the FA board.

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“They have invested a lot in me, and I see this as a long-term project, not just the next three games.”

The Lionesses open their SheBelieves Cup campaign at the Mapfre Stadium in Ohio against France on Thursday, and then play Germany in New Jersey, before meeting the USA in Orlando on March 8.

The former Manchester United and Everton defender has set England Women the ultimate goal of winning the 2019 World Cup in France.

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Neville added: “We want to be the best team in the world and we want to win a World Cup, so we shouldn’t come to this tournament with any fears that we can’t compete and can’t win games.

“I’ve challenged the team to win all three games. If we want to win a World Cup we have got to beat USA, beat Germany, beat France – these are our rivals.”

Captain Steph Houghton, Karen Carney and Jordan Nobbs all withdrew from the squad with injury last week, with Rachel Daly, Abbie McManus and Georgia Stanway drafted in.