Belfast Telegraph

Gary Neville in frame to succeed Roy Hodgson as England manager within two years

Word of advice: Roy Hodgson believes Gary Neville should continue to combine coaching and punditry for the time being
Word of advice: Roy Hodgson believes Gary Neville should continue to combine coaching and punditry for the time being

By Robert Jones

Roy Hodgson appeared to anoint Gary Neville as his England successor ahead of tonight's World Cup swansong against Costa Rica, whose march on to the knockout stages compounds English embarrassment.

The humbled England squad will fly back to Luton airport straight after the game with Hodgson's future in the job secure, regardless of the result, after he received unanimous backing from his FA bosses.

Coach Neville has been groomed as the successor to Hodgson, with Gareth Southgate, the Under-21s manager, another possible appointment. Hodgson will be 68 by the end of the next European Championship in 2016 when his contract expires.

Part of the reason that the FA has been so supportive is because it believes he is the right man to oversee continuity in the role with Neville or Southgate the leading candidates to succeed him.

The decision to stick with Hodgson was made as the FA delegation travelled back to the team hotel after the Uruguay defeat last Thursday.

Greg Dyke, the FA chairman, and other aides decided to back Hodgson quickly and resolved to choose only English managers in the future.

Despite his lack of experience, that puts Neville firmly in the frame and Hodgson further endorsed his claims by cautioning against a post-World Cup move into club management.

“The longer he can combine his two roles (coaching England and working as a pundit on Sky Sports) the better,” advised Hodgson. “He’s learning a lot in the environment with us, working with more experienced coaches and top players, and that’s beneficial to him.

“He’s doing a very good job on the TV. So my advice to him would be keep it going for as long as you feel you want to keep it going. But I don’t have any doubt in my mind that he will become a top-class manager.

“It’s just a question of when he decides to leave the punditry behind and go into the actual job of working with players. He likes working with players.”

Meanwhile, former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has said he will not reveal the names of the Spurs players he claims asked to be withdrawn from England service despite Steven Gerrard saying he should.

“I understand Steven’s concern,” Redknapp said, “but I don’t want to get into naming names because it wouldn’t be fair. Every Premier League manager past and present knows what I’m talking about.”

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