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  1. ITV Report

Equality in football is 'heading in the right direction' says Phil Neville

England women's coach Phil Neville believes there is a movement towards equality in international football.

Neville says great strides have been taken in recent years but accepts that the process is an evolutionary one.

"We're still not quite where we want to be but what we say to the players is 'we will get there if we keep improving' and that is important.

"Yes, we want equality, yes we want our players to have the best playing conditions, the best performance conditions and to be paid their worth."

Prize money handed out at the 2019 Women's World Cup totalled £24m between the 24 teams involved.

At the men's tournament the previous year the payments reach £315m, which is a considerable difference.

"There is huge disparity but what I will say is that you have to look at both World Cups and say: everything stadium for the men's World Cup was sold out but it wasn't for the women's; the sponsorship, the viewing figures there's still a disparity between those figures.

"What I would say is that now I think there will be a big jump up again and I think we have to look at it in the long term and that the grow is in line with the product that we're putting on the field.

"I look at it from a long-term point of view, we will get women's football where we want to get to in the foreseeable future."

England trained at Wembley on Friday. Credit: ITV News

Although Neville acknowledges there is not fast route to equal pay, the former Manchester United defender is confident in its growth.

The sign of the improvement in the support for the women's game will come on Saturday when England host Germany at a sold out Wembley Stadium.

Around 90,000 people are expected to attend the friendly fixture, a record attendance for an England women's international.

In terms of football, it comes at a low moment for England, who have won just once in their last six games but Neville wants his team to relish the pressure.

"I speak to the players about this all the time - when they were little girls growing up, going to their local fields, dreaming to play football at the highest level, they probably saw massive obstacles in their way and now those same girls who have grown up are now playing for England at Wembley, which is sold out.

"This is what they've always wanted, so when we get to this stage of sold out crowds, playing for England at the top level, winning games, losing games, getting praise, getting criticism, get opportunities that they would never ever have had probably 10, 15 years ago you can't moan about it, you've got to embrace it, you've got to enjoy it and you've got to accept the challenge in front of us..