Neville: England wanted to avoid home nations

Neville: England wanted to avoid home nations

Gary Neville believes the scenario of facing either Scotland or Wales in the Qatar World Cup group stage is one that England and Gareth Southgate would have wanted to avoid.

The Three Lions were drawn with the United States, Iran and one of Scotland, Wales or Ukraine in Friday's draw, with Southgate's men benefiting from being top seeds, earned by being ranked as one of the top seven international sides in the world.

Speaking from Qatar, Neville believes the November 25 clash with the USA - England's second of the group - is the most difficult game in the opening round of matches for the Three Lions, but says the presence of Scottish or Welsh fans could make life difficult for the Euro 2020 finalists in the Gulf state.

"England would have wanted to avoid a home nation," Neville told Sky Sports News after the draw. "I'm not sure Scotland and Wales would have wanted to avoid it but certainly England. It just brings that complication you don't need. They've always been difficult opponents.

"We know what it means to the Welsh and the Scottish to play against England. That's not being arrogant, it's just that we know it's a huge fixture. It is for England as well but it doesn't seem to carry that sort of dislike that comes with the Welsh or the Scottish fever towards England.

And then relations at Government level between Iran, England and USA over the last 20 to 30 years have not always been great. So there will be a lot of interest around that game.