Former Roses head coach Neville ready to embrace life away from netball

England Netball head coach Tracey Neville. Picture by Allan McKenzie/

Former England netball head coach Tracey Neville admitted it might help family relations if she gives birth to the next Heather Knight instead of a successor to Ellen White.

In October the 42-year-old shared an ultrasound on Instagram revealing she and partner Michael Timmins are expecting a baby in 2020.

It’s not that Neville has anything against the Lionesses or her beloved Roses, but when you are part of an elite sporting dynasty there’s bound to be competition — even over the athletic future of a family member who isn't due until March.

“It seems like there’s more investment in the Lionesses at the moment so there’s going to be a huge challenge between me and Phil and Gary about what the kid will play,” said Neville, speaking at the SJA British Sports Awards where she collected the JL Manning award.

“Hopefully they’ll choose their own sport, like golf or cricket!

“But I have a feeling I’m going to be blessed with someone who watches football 24/7 or a netballer who is just obsessed.”
Neville is the daughter of the late cricketer and Bury FC director Neville Neville and Jill Neville, the club’s former general manager, who played multiple sports including netball and rounders.

As sporting clans go, the Neville’s are hard to beat and Tracey is hoping she can inspire her future offspring to continue the trend.

“Parenting is a challenge but I’ve faced bigger,” she added.

“Me, Gary and Phil grew up watching from the sidelines when our parents played.

“I hope our child is similarly inspired by us as parents to go out and do sport themselves.”

Neville announced she would step down as England Netball head coach after steering them to bronze at this summer’s home Netball World Cup in July.
She knew she needed to take some much-needed time for herself, but she couldn’t stay away from the Roses for long as she formed part of Sky Sports’ punditry panel for last weekend’s series against South Africa.

She said: “I felt I really needed that break and a step away from the sport.

“When you’re in a head coach role you can get very isolated and people don’t always welcome you into an environment, but now that the Roses are in competition again there’s a bit of jealousy.

“I don’t think it’s a case of wanting to lead the team again, but when you’ve been part of something for five years it’s really hard to stand on the sidelines and watch.

“That said, they’ve got my support. We created something as a team and I hope they can continue it for the next five years.”

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