When comparing the Neville twins, Phil and Tracey, we must first look at the entire Neville family to get a true feel for how three kids made it to the top of their respective sports.
Their parents Neville Neville and Jill Neville were largely responsible for the success of their children. From a very young age, the kids were encouraged to join the sporting world. Neville Neville played a part in the development of the famous Class of 92 squad which included both sons (Gary and Phil), as well as David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs. Whilst Jill played netball in the local leagues, by the age of 14, Tracey followed suit.
As time grew on, both Neville brothers were established full backs in one of the greatest footballing sides the Premier League had ever seen, Manchester United. Alongside them was Tracey, who began to play county level netball in her early teens and gradually progressed to the Netball Superleague, representing Leeds Met.
After playing for her country for almost 9 years and featuring in both the 1998 and 2002 Commonwealth Games, a serious knee injury forced her to retire in 2008. However, her love for the game didn’t stop. Similarly with Phil and Gary, their respective love for both football and netball drove them into coaching.
Phil and Gary jumped straight in. Gary began as a member of the senior coaching team for Roy Hodgson’s England side before being appointed as the head coach of Valencia in 2015. He joined brother Phil, who had recently spent time there as the assistant and caretaker manager. Unfortunately, they had a terrible time in Spain and were eventually sacked by the club after winning just 3 of their 16 league games in charge.
This led to Gary returning to his previous trade as a pundit which seemed to suit much better. In contrast, Phil took a break before progressing into the women’s game. He is now head coach of the women’s football team which aligns with Tracey, who is coach of the netball side. They both compete in the sports World Cup tournaments this summer.
So how are the twins getting on?
Between them, they haven’t been short of success. Phil’s side recently won the SheBelieves Cup and go into the World Cup as favourites to win the tournament. Tracey’s netball team won both team and sporting moment of the year at last year’s SPOTY, beating Australia to take gold at the Commonwealth Games.
What’s clear with the Nevilles is their relentless passion to succeed. As they approach their individual World Cup journeys, there’s a sense that anything less than victory will be taken in the worst possible way.
In a joint interview with The Telegraph, both Phil and Tracey spoke of their passion within the family, making reference to high expectations as one of the key factors behind their success. There’s no jealousy within the family either. They all seem to have a huge desire for the other siblings to succeed; Phil even regards Tracey’s gold medal above his treble success with Manchester United.
This common sense of family loyalty between the celebrity siblings is a rare find within elite level sport. I guess their constant desire for the others to succeed is what drives them to the top of their respective careers.
If this attitude can transition into Phil and Tracey’s tournaments this summer, there’s no reason why both the Lionesses and Roses can’t make 2019 a year to remember for English sport.