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Football: I DON'T CARE WHAT PEOPLE THINK.. WE ARE GOOD ENOUGH.

Byline: DARREN LEWIS

SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON believes they are good enough, so does Sir Alex Ferguson and a string of former England managers.

But still there is a groundswell of opinion that the Neville brothers are not good enough to play international football. But now the Manchester United defenders have had enough.

Gary and Phil have come out fighting, taking a potshot at their critics as they prepare for today's showdown at Leeds as part of a United squad racing towards their seventh Premiership title in nine years.

Both are fed up with the criticism from those who say they cannot cut it at the top level.

And Gary has hit back at claims he is only in the England squad because of a shortage of alternatives.

He blasted: "I'm not interested in who's behind me, or in front of me in terms of international games. You just worry about yourself.

"I've just been lucky to play for Terry Venables, Glenn Hoddle, Kevin Keegan, Peter Taylor and Mr Eriksson.

"These are people who know more about football than anyone else. I'm not going to question their judgement."

Gary has been vilified for high-profile mistakes against Vasco da Gama and Liverpool while Phil was portrayed as a national villain for his last-gasp lunge to concede the penalty which sent England crashing out of Euro 2000.

But Phil has declared he would make another controversial tackle - like the one against Romania - if faced with the same situation.

He said: "That tackle doesn't bother me. I'm a defender, I'm paid to make tackles and I think if I hadn't gone in for that tackle and Romania had scored, people would have questioned that as well. At the time I thought I was going to get the ball.

Talking in this month's edition of Four Four Two magazine, Gary defends his brother and accuses Phil's knockers of making him a sacrificial lamb.

He hit out: "Whether Phil made the tackle or not it didn't matter. We just weren't good enough.

"They made a scapegoat out of Gareth Southgate in 1996. They made a scapegoat out of Becks two years later and then last year it was Phil. People who make the scapegoats don't know what they're talking about."

The Nevilles also revealed they don't think of each other as brothers at Old Trafford.

Phil said: "Gary is no different to Nicky Butt or David Beckham. We're all team-mates. That's the way we treat each other."

INTERVIEW: Four Four Two

CAPTION(S):

NEVILLE BROS: Much-maligned, but defiant
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 3, 2001
Words:422
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