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Alex Scott worried by England’s ‘decline’ under Phil Neville

Former England defender Alex Scott believes Phil Neville’s management is no longer working for the national team.

The Lionesses suffered their latest defeat against the USA in the SheBelieves Cup on Thursday night and will play Japan in their second game on Sunday.

Having pushed the US all the way in the World Cup semi-finals last summer, England were well beaten this time, with a 2-0 scoreline arguably flattering the defending champions.

Neville insisted afterwards that England are not going backwards, but Scott disagrees.

The full-back-turned-pundit said on the BBC’s Football Focus: “Hope Powell was the England manager and she worked miracles to get the women’s game to where it was.

“We didn’t qualify for major tournaments, she took us to the World Cup quarter-final, a Euro semi-final. Mark Sampson came in and he moved the team forward again.

“We closed the gap, we were competing against teams like America, and my worry with the team now is, we had a honeymoon period where Phil’s coming in and he’s saying, ‘We have to change the style of play, we want to play out from the back’, but now it’s not working and we’re not getting the results.

“We’ve dropped down the FIFA world rankings, our loss percentage against the highest teams (has increased). So the stats are there to back up that actually at the moment it’s worrying because we are on a decline and now that gap that was closed, we’re going away from it.

“We’re holding a home Euros (next summer) with lots of investment and lots of eyes on the women’s game, so I think the game and Phil, it’s at a crucial point and we really need to assess where the women’s team is going and how we can now compete again with the likes of America.”

After a heartbreaking loss to Japan in the World Cup semi-finals in 2015, England gained revenge with a group-stage victory last summer, and this game will be another good indicator of where Neville’s side stand 12 months on.