The boss of the England women’s national football team, Phil Neville, stated that he hopes that the team’s recent team building with the Royal Marines will help the women play better and deal with the challenges that they’ll be facing at the Women’s World Cup.
Late May, the Lionesses spent some time with the Royal Marines at St. George’s Park from the lunchtime of the 23rd, to the morning of the 24th, as part of their preparations for the Women’s World Cup in France that gets underway in early in June.
Notably, the team building event was hidden from the players, which left them surprised as they were suddenly made to participate in various military-style exercises, built tarpaulin shelters to sleep in, as well as cooking food with campfires, then talked with and bonded with the Marines, some of whom were amputees, about their experiences while service.
The event happened just before the English Lionesses were set to face Denmark in Walsall, in the team’s penultimate World Cup warm-up match. Neville spoke on the matter, saying that, when people participate in a major sporting event like the World Cup, there’s going to be a lot of ups and downs to go through; people will get emotional, homesick, they’ll miss family, they’ll play well, they won’t play well, they’ll make mistakes, and other things.
He adds that it’s imperative for people going through these things to know that they can trust the people around them; they need to know that everyone around them is a kindred spirit that they can count on to help.
The main topic of discussion during the team building activity was that people wouldn’t always be at their best throughout all of the 40 days; some of them will be tired, or feel sorry for themselves, or the like.
But compared to what Marines go through, he says, what they have is easy. The point of being with the Marines was to bring everything to basics, to focus on bonding with each other. He says that it was just something he and the team hasn’t really gone through, and he felt the need to shock them into it.