Bronze is still the best in the world, claims Neville

England boss Phil Neville still believes that Lucy Bronze is the best player in the world

Lucy Bronze remains the world’s best player in Phil Neville’s eyes despite the England star finishing third in FIFA’s The Best awards.

Bronze finished third at the awards ceremony in Milan behind World Cup winners Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan and was named as the only English representative in the first ever FIFPro women’s world XI.

Neville first hailed his star player as “the best player in the world” after a 2-2 draw with the World champions back in March and his opinion on the subject remains unmoved.

The-right-back has gone on to win back-to-back Champions League and domestic titles with Lyon since then and it’s the regularity that she is turning in performances that Neville believes makes the 27-year-old a cut above the rest.

“My feeling was that over a consistent period of time, when you are judging whether a player is the best in the world, I still believe that our Lucy Bronze was the best player,” said Neville.

“Me and Lucy both said that in order to win those awards as individuals and as a team, you need to be getting to those big finals.

“And I can see why Megan has won it because on the big occasion, she helped her team to win the World Cup.

“But the award is based on a year-long period and she won the Champions League, the French league and the European footballer of the year - whereas the Americans don’t play for their clubs very often.

“When you look at the three players that were up last night, any one of them could have won but my bias was still towards Lucy.”

Lionel Messi may have picked up the award for the best male player but it was Rapinoe who stole the show as she called for footballers to “change the world” in her acceptance speech.

Rapinoe scored six times at the World Cup, including the opener in the final against Holland, but it was her outspoken nature that set her apart from the crowd of talented platers on show in France.

Neville himself has been forthright in his comments on racism in football and the use of social mead and although the 34-year-old American beat his prized asset to the award on Sunday, Neville could not help but applaud her.

“The thing about Megan’s character and her personality that I admire is that she is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in,” said Neville.

“When you get a platform like the one in Milan I think it is a great platform to send really powerful messages.

“That is why I was so vocal about social media stuff because my players suffer from it and society should be fighting it together.

“It shouldn’t always be the person that is affected that has to come out and fight against racism or homophobia or any other insulting behaviour.

“It is the people around us in society that should also be fighting against it and at the moment we are gathering a bit of momentum but not enough."