England coach Gary Neville expresses love for Malta… but not the heat

England’s team coach Gary Neville showed his delight after England were picked to be in the same group as Malta yesterday evening during the Preliminary Draw of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Wayne Rooney and Gary Neville
Wayne Rooney and Gary Neville

England team coach and former Manchester United legend Gary Neville has echoed Roy Hodgson's delight at Malta being drawn in the same World Cup qualification group against England, but despite his close ties with Malta, the former England right back is not very keen of Malta's summer temperatures.

Despite admitting to "love" Malta, Neville - England's most capped right back who also owns property in Malta - expressed qualms about playing in the 3pm heat. On Thursday, West Ham manager Slaven Bilic complained of Malta's humid weather, blaming his team's lethargic perofrmance on the conditions.

As mentioned by England’s manager Roy Hodgson on Saturday, Gary Neville has purchased property in Malta. Together with football legend David Beckham, Neville spent many summers in Malta during their younger years. 

Moments after England was drawn in the same qualification group with Malta, Neville expressed his joy by immediately tweeting “England drawn Malta in 2018 WCQ. Brilliant”

However, the subject quickly turned on Malta's hot weather. When Gary answered to a tweet that Malta is his second home, he immediately referred to the heat by saying “Absolutely! Love the place. Make sure it’s not a Summer away!!” When another fan tweeted “why? it drops to a mild 25 degrees at night sometimes” Gary immediately replied “Trust me Malta will make it 3pm” , referring to Malta using the heat to their advantage.

And Neville's concerns seem to have done the trick as the official fixture list published today shows that England's match in Ta' Qali will be played on a modest September night at a (rather late) 8.45 pm. The full fixture list is as follows:

2 Sept 2016 - MALTA vs SCOTLAND
8 Oct 2016 - ENGLAND vs MALTA
11 Oct 2016 - LITHUANIA vs MALTA
11 Nov 2016 - MALTA vs SLOVENIA
26 Mar 2017 - MALTA vs SLOVAKIA
10 Jun 2017 - SLOVENIA vs MALTA
1 Sep 2017 - MALTA vs ENGLAND
4 Sep 2017 - SCOTLAND vs MALTA
5 Oct 2017 - MALTA vs LITHUANIA
8 Oct 2017 - SLOVAKIA vs MALTA

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