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Gary Neville gives Hodgson a Valencia boost

By Simon Peach

Published 03/12/2015

Giving the orders: Gary Neville will continue his role with England despite taking charge at Valencia
Giving the orders: Gary Neville will continue his role with England despite taking charge at Valencia

England coach Gary Neville will make his first foray into management at Valencia - a surprise appointment that Roy Hodgson believes will help rather than hinder the national team.

News that the former Manchester United defender would take the reins at the Primera Division club for the remainder of the campaign sent shockwaves around the footballing world.

Neville has become a popular pundit with Sky Sports and a key coach in the England set-up since retiring during the 2010-11 campaign, although management has long been an ambition.

The former right-back recently completed his Pro Licence course at St George's Park and will get his first taste of management in the unlikely surroundings of Valencia, where he will work alongside brother Phil, who had been coach at the club under predecessor Nuno.

"I am absolutely thrilled to be given this opportunity with Valencia," Neville said.

"Valencia are a huge football club of immense standing and I know from my time as a player the passion and dedication of the Valencia fans.

"I am really looking forward to working with the club's talented group of players and am excited about the challenge ahead," he added.

The pressures that come with that challenge mean Neville has left his job as a Sky Sports analyst, although the Football Association has confirmed he will remain in his role with England.

The country's most-capped right-back ever was appointed to Hodgson's coaching staff in May 2012 and is understood to have spoken at length with the England boss, and fellow coach Ray Lewington, before agreeing the deal.

Neville will still play a key role in the Three Lions' Euro 2016 preparations, despite being based in Spain, and the well-travelled Hodgson believes he will flourish in the role.

"I'm delighted that Gary has decided to take this excellent opportunity," he said.

"It's the right moment in time for him and I'm 100 per cent behind his decision to join Valencia as the new head coach.

"As far as I'm concerned, this will be an extra string to his bow and the experience he will gain working in the Spanish league can only be beneficial to our work together with the England team.

"Gary's commitment to the FA's preparations for Euro 2016 will not be in any way affected by the fact that he will be coaching abroad during the next five months.

"As someone who has spent a large part of my coaching career working abroad, I salute his decision and hope he gains as much from his time in Spain as I have done from the various countries which I have worked in.

"Like the rest of the England coaching staff, Gary will be fully committed to preparing for the Euros in France and our friendly matches which begin in March against Germany and Holland.

"I wish him and his brother Phil the very best of luck as they prepare for their first match versus Lyon in the Champions League.''

Neville will be unveiled as Valencia head coach at a press conference today at 3pm UK time, but Sunday will be his first official day in the Mestalla hotseat.

Younger brother Phil and interim boss Voro will instead take charge of Saturday's mouth-watering Primera Division clash with Barcelona.

Neville's first match in charge will be the home Champions League clash with Lyon next Wednesday - a match Valencia have to win to stand any chance of progressing to the knock-out stages.

Los Che sit third in Champions League Group H and ninth in the Primera Division standings, with coach Nuno quitting following Sunday's 1-0 loss away to Sevilla - a decision the Portuguese informed owner Peter Lim of prior to kick-off.

The Singaporean businessman has ties to the Neville brothers through Salford City, which he owns a 50 per cent stake in with the rest split between Gary, Phil, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes.

Younger brother Phil has been with Valencia since July and reports suggest England's performance analysis manager Andy Scoulding could follow the Nevilles to the Spanish club.

Belfast Telegraph

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