Valencia appoint Gary Neville for Manchester United

The former Manchester United defender and current England assistant manager has given up his punditry role with Sky Sports to become head coach at Valencia, working alongside his brother, Phil.

Valencia have announced the surprise appointment of Gary Neville as their new head coach until the end of the 2015/16 season. The former Manchester United stalwart, whose brother Phil is currently sharing caretaker duties with Salvador Gonzalez at the Mestalla following former boss Nuno Espirito Santo’s resignation on 30 November, will officially take charge of the La Liga outfit on 6 December ahead of their Champions League clash against Lyon next week.

Gary Neville – Valencia head coach? This seems a bit out of the blue…
You would be right. Neville has long been seen as a future manager, but making your first footsteps into management abroad and with a club like Valencia is as surprising as it is intriguing. That said, given Valencia’s majority owner Peter Lim also owns half of Salford City along with the Class of 92, perhaps it should not have been.

Hold on, I thought it was Phil Neville at Valencia?
Yes, younger brother Phil has been at the Mestalla since July. The former Manchester United and England Under-21s coach had been working under former head coach Nuno, whose void he will help to fill along with interim boss Voro in Wednesday’s Copa del Rey trip to Barakaldo and Saturday’s mouth-watering clash with Barcelona.

When will we see Gary in Spain then?
Given his determination to succeed, it would not be a surprise to see Neville in the stands for the Barakaldo match. He will be unveiled to the media at a press conference at the Mestalla on Thursday at 3pm UK time, with his first day in the job this Sunday. It means Neville’s first match as head coach is next Wednesday’s Champions League match with Lyon – a game Valencia have to win to stand any chance of making it out Group H. No pressure then…

What does the new job mean for his role as England coach?
According to the Football Association, Neville’s role as England coach in Roy Hodgson’s set-up is unchanged. In fact, the well-travelled manager believes it will benefit England going forwards. Unsurprisingly, the odds on Neville succeeding Hodgson as national team manager have shortened since the Valencia announcement.

How about his job at Sky Sports? Is he going to juggle that, too?
Unfortunately not, Monday Night Football fans – Neville has left his role as analyst with immediate effect. It was clearly a wrench to leave Sky Sports, but the company’s managing director Barney Francis says “the door will always be open should he wish to return”.

“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,” Hodgson said in an Football Association (FA) statement. “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.”


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