West Ham v Manchester United, Match in Pictures
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Manchester United icon Gary Neville has taken a swipe at both major political parties and has suggested that there is an absence of leadership in UK politics. Neville believes that footballers should be taking a ‘pop back’ at the country’s politicians over several examples of elected officials ‘coming at’ athletes.
The 46-year-old has been a high-profile critic of the government and of the opposition on a range of issues.
Neville has accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government of lacking the required standards and integrity. He has also taken issue with Sir Keir Starmer’s opposition for a perceived failure to properly challenge the Conservative government.
The opposition has been accused by the former England defender of failing to take a side on important subjects.
Neville listed several examples of issues that have made him disillusioned by UK politics.
Gary Neville has taken a swipe at both major political parties (Image: BBC/GETTY)
He implied that the Labour party has failed to take a strong stance on successive national lockdowns and on Britain’s exit from the European Union.
"I do just feel, at the moment, a little bit disconnected," Neville told BBC Breakfast on Wednesday morning.
"When I look at the leadership in this country, I do think there is a little bit of a void.
"I don't feel at this time that there is a great opposition.
"I think sitting on the fence around issues such as the tiers of lockdown and Brexit… you can't be a competent opposition and do that.
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"I feel that the government, themselves, leave a lot to be desired in terms of their standards and their integrity.”
Neville has also grown frustrated over government figures interfering in sporting issues.
At the start of the pandemic, then-Health Secretary Matt Hancock controversially told footballers to “make a contribution” and suggested that they take a pay cut.
Several Premier League players did accept wage reductions during the first national lockdown.
Gary Neville has been a strong critic of UK politicians (Image: GETTY)
The front bench were then forced to U-turn on their position on free school meals following a campaign by Man Utd forward Marcus Rashford.
During Euro 2020, Home Secretary Priti Patel told GB News that England supporters have a ‘choice’ over whether to boo Three Lions stars taking the knee.
Prime Minister Johnson later said that it was ‘totally wrong’ to boo the gesture. Footballers in England have been taking a knee prior to kick-off in matches across the football pyramid in a stance against racial abuse.
Neville has said that it is now time for footballers to have a ‘pop back’ at politicians.
He continued: "They have entered into football in the last 18 months so I have entered into politics. We saw them take on Marcus Rashford on free school meals, [they commented on] the booing of the knee.
"They asked for more from footballers in the early stages of the pandemic.
"So, if they're going to come at football players, who I have lived in dressing rooms with [and who I think] have good hearts and have got compassion, then we'll have to have a little bit of a pop back. Because they don't always do things that represent the country."
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