has hit back at any accusations of nepotism and said his son Harvey and owner ‘s son Romeo had ‘earned the right’ to play for Inter Miami’s first team against .
Inter Miami turned to the famous footballing sons off the bench in Tuesday night’s 6-0 friendly loss against the Spanish giants.
Neville’s son Harvey, 20, was introduced at half-time while Beckham Jr was brought on in the 86th minute.
Quizzed afterwards as to why the two talented youngsters were used in a match that, beforehand, Neville labelled as the biggest game in Inter Miami’s four-year history, the English head coach was defiant in his response.
‘Well I think we put the two boys on at wing-back and the first thing you measure is temperament. Have they got the temperament to play in this game? I think both of them did,’ he told reporters.
‘I was super proud of them both. Romeo only got on for the last five or six minutes, which is difficult, but they’d earned the right to get on.
‘They both showed really good temperament and I think tonight we learned an awful lot.’
Phil Neville (right) hit back at critics who questioned his decision to play Romeo Beckham (left) and his 20-year-old son Harvey in Inter Miami’s friendly match against Barcelona on Tuesday
Neville Jr (left) and Beckham Jr (right) were introduced as substitutes in the 6-0 defeat
Barcelona were rampant, winning 6-0 with £55million summer signing Raphinha, who has joined from Leeds United, bagging on his debut. Fellow signing Robert Lewandowski watched from the stands.
The use of the Neville and Beckham sons arrived 24 years after their famous dads featured for Manchester United against Barcelona in a 3-3 draw back in 1998.
The two youngsters typically feature for Inter Miami II, a third division team that had five of its group in the matchday squad for the friendly against Barcelona, and Neville believes playing a top quality opponent benefits everyone at the club.
Harvey Neville was cheered on by his extended family as they came over to watch the match
But it was a rampant, new-look Barcelona side who prevailed comfortably on the night
He continued: ‘It was a big challenge for us, as you could see. We were playing against world-class players, two world-class teams in each half really.
‘So it was a brilliant occasion to play in, you could feel the buzz in the air, OKEPLAY777 the supporters – we’ve now experienced what a sold out Drive Pink (DRV PNK Stadium) feels like.
‘I think from a playing point of view, the game was always going to be something for us to really enjoy. And we’ve got a lot of young players in there that will have taken some real valuable experiences about the level that you need to be at to play at the top, top level.
‘I thought it was a brilliant learning experience for us all. It was difficult, we had to dig in, we had to fight, we had to accept that they were going to have a lot of possession of the ball and really to keep it to 6-0 was a real positive for us.
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‘It’s a great learning experience for everyone in the team and everyone got onto the pitch that we wanted to, got valuable experience, and they will have learnt an awful lot.’
Beckham Jr was seen chatting to former Manchester United attacker Memphis Depay
David Beckham, Romeo’s dad, is the owner of the team and questions have been asked
Beckham Jr has only recently returned to football after a five-year absence.
He swapped the sport for tennis in 2015 after a brief spell in Arsenal’s youth set-up, but returned to football in 2021 when he joined Miami, a club founded by his dad in 2018.
Harvey Neville started his football career in the youth ranks of Manchester United, just like his dad – who was part of the famed Class of 92 that included Beckham – before he spent time with Manchester City and then Valencia, where his uncle Gary spent time as a manager, with Phil as his assistant.
It was a particularly special day for the Neville family, with a large group travelling to Miami to see Phil and Harvey in action.
Gary Neville, uncle to Harvey, posted a family photo from a box at the stadium.
The Sky Sports analyst sported an Inter Miami shirt with Neville on the back and shared a series of Instagram stories documenting his nephew in action, and his brother as the manager.