Neville said: "We're not blessed with too much young talent coming through in this country but Joleon falls into that category so let's encourage rather than knock him.
"When he played in Russia it was a massive test in a hostile atmosphere because he'd probably never played in a game of that magnitude before.
"Even though we lost that game, I told him afterwards that he had proved he had the temperament to play at that level.
"And he was certainly not the worst player at Wembley against Croatia. I thought he did OK and could hold his head up high.
"Joleon was outstanding for us at left-back last season and, at the start of this campaign, he made it clear he wanted to play at centre-half. He's proved he's good enough to play there and is growing in stature with every game."