Gary Neville reveals the brilliant lesson Tony Adams taught him on how to be a captain

Tony Adams of England
Arsenal defender Adams was captain for both club and country (Picture: Getty Images)

Manchester United legend Gary Neville has revealed how former England and Arsenal captain Tony Adams taught him a valuable lesson when he ordered the squad to take the blame for Paul Gascoigne wreaking havoc on a plane.

Terry Venables’ England side were on the way back from a trip to China and Hong Kong in preparation for hosting Euro 96 when the midfielder responded badly to a slap on the head from Alan Shearer, smashing seats and throwing cushions on a Cathay Pacific flight.

An inquest from the FA followed, but instead of giving up the culprit, Arsenal legend Adams decided the team would stand as one and take the blame together.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Neville said: ‘The FA wanted someone out of the squad, they wanted to know who it was, they wanted basically to have a fall guy, a scapegoat.

‘Terry Venables told us this and said, “Go into that room over there”, and we all went in as a group of players to come up with a solution because the FA wanted to know who did it.

‘Tony Adams stood up in the room and said, “No-one is a scapegoat in this room, we all go out there and take collective responsibility”.

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Members of the England football team during their tour of Hong Kong and China
Members of the England squad on their trip to China (Picture: Getty Images)

‘And if you remember the line of ‘collective responsibility’ that came out, that was Tony Adams taking control of a group of people and saying, “We’ll all pay the fine, we’ll all pay for the damage, but we’ll all say that we did it”.

‘It gave me the lessons of sticking together, about what you do when someone’s in trouble, and that’s how I’ve always approached it from there on in terms of you never ever stitch your teammates up, you never once throw them overboard.

‘I think that’s something that’s really important in terms of shaping you as you get through football in terms of how you look at football players in your dressing room as they make a mistake.’

That England side went on to have great success, getting to the semi-finals of the Euros that summer before ultimately losing to Germany on penalties.

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