Neville: ‘Battered wife’ tweet of sporting nature

Under-fire England women’s head coach Phil Neville has revealed a historical tweet where he wrote “just battered the wife” was of a sporting nature and he regrets writing it.

He has been attacked for sexist tweets he posted several years ago which resurfaced hours after he got the top job for the women’s national side.

Last week, the former Manchester United and England defender said sorry for the messages and issued a further apology on Monday.

A controversial tweet from his account in 2011 read: “Relax I’m back chilled – just battered the wife!!! Feel better now!”

Phil Neville

Image: Phil Neville speaks to the media on Monday

Neville told Sky News: “It was that wording that disappointed me more than any of them because it obviously relates to domestic violence.

“That tweet wasn’t sent out as a joke to domestic violence. It was in a period when I was on holiday with my wife.

“It relates to something I was doing with my wife in terms of a sporting, competitive nature.

“But it’s not right, the wording of the tweet was not right and I’m disappointed I used that terminology.”

Philip Neville's sexist tweets

Image: Philip Neville’s sexist tweets

In 2012 he wrote: “Morning men couple of hours cricket be4 work sets me up nicely for the day.”

Another from December 2012 read: “U women of [sic] always wanted equality until it comes to paying the bills #hypocrites.”

The 41-year-old sportsman deleted the posts last week and took down his Twitter account as criticism grew.

On Monday, Neville said the words he used in 2011-2012 were “not good” back then and “are not right now”.

He added: “People who know me know it is not a true reflection of my character.

“I had to apologise, I didn’t like the words used. I’m not a sexist. I’ve lived my life right.”

Phil Neville pictured during his time as a coach for England U21s

Image: Neville pictured during his time as a coach for the England Under-21 side

Shortly before the furore began Neville had told his 1.6 million followers he was “extremely proud and honoured” to be joining the Lionesses.

But there has also been criticism that he got the job without any experience in the women’s game or as a head coach.

It is his first managerial role, having previously worked as a coach at Manchester United and Valencia and with the England men’s Under-21 setup.

The job advert had called for “an outstanding football coach with a track record of consistent and successful management”.

Some have suggested his appointment has denied women an opportunity.

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Neville insisted he has coached extensively at a high level.

He said: “I’m qualified for the job, I have a (coaching) Pro Licence. It’s to work in all aspects of football. I’ve worked abroad. I’m best qualified for this job.”