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Neville: Young Players Get Too Much, Too Soon

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Everton captain Phil Neville believes it is only a matter of time before a footballer is assaulted by a supporter.


Sol Campbell spoke out on Wednesday about the levels of abuse that players are now receiving from fans.


And England defender Neville told BBC Radio 5 Live that verbal abuse could soon turn into a physical assault.


"In tennis a fan ran onto the court and stabbed Monica Seles and I think it is only a matter of time before that happens in football," said Neville.


"The level of abuse that players are receiving is bordering on frightening and enough is enough now," added Neville.


"It is only a matter of time before a really serious incident takes place.


"It has been building up for the last 10 years and it is fine shouting abuse at you, but they are now shouting abuse about your family and when it gets to that level then enough is enough."


England international Campbell complained of abuse following Portsmouth's game with Tottenham earlier this month, while Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and Pompey boss Harry Redknapp have also suffered verbal assaults this season.


Neville does admit that footballers need to conduct themselves better if they are to win back the respect and support of the public.


He said: "As footballers we don't help ourselves and we need to handle ourselves on and off the pitch a lot better.


"It is a small minority of players that misbehave but perhaps we don't set the best example to young players coming through also.


"With the vast amount of money we earn then we have a lot of responsibility to behave properly."


The former Manchester United star also feels that young players aren't being disciplined as strongly as in years gone by.


"The young kids growing up don't seem to have the discipline we had and there is a softness coming through in the young players," he said.


"They are paid vast amounts of money buy they don't seem to be working for it.


"Maybe it is a case of too much too soon but there doesn't seem to be the toughness there that I had."

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