Manchester United assistant Ryan Giggs has heaped praise on Phil Neville after claiming the former Red Devils coach made a vital contribution during his first year in a non-playing capacity at Old Trafford.
The Welsh veteran hailed his old team-mate's ability to orchestrate and give clear instruction to players on the training ground, and insisted that the club's collective troubles last season should not reflect badly on the 37-year-old's coaching credentials.
Neville was brought in as part of David Moyes's backroom team when he was picked to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson at the Theatre of Dreams, but his tumultuous spell ended after just ten months when the ex-Everton boss was sacked back in April.
Giggs took interim charge of first-team affairs for the remainder of the 2013/14 campaign, and Neville stayed to give a helping hand prior to the eventual appointment of Louis van Gaal.
The Dutch coach joined Manchester United after the World Cup in Brazil and brought with him his own staff, meaning there would be no place for Neville in the coaching set-up, prompting him to take up a new vocation as a pundit in the media.
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"It's a shame he's not doing that [coaching at Manchester United]" - Ryan Giggs on Phil Neville
However, Giggs - who was kept on by Van Gaal and given a role as his No.2 - is adamant that Neville will return to the dugout in the future because he has a natural spark for coaching.
"Phil did really well in his first year," he said. "Obviously people might say the team didn't do well. But actually going out onto the pitch he's so enthusiastic, so knowledgable and he's a real natural coach.
"It's a shame he's not doing that [coaching at Manchester United]."
Regular appearances on the BBC's flagship Match of the Day programme have helped keep Neville busy, as he continues to bide his time before choosing his next role.
Moyes reportedly offered his trusted ally the chance to join him in Spain after taking over at La Liga outfit Real Sociedad last week, but the Bury-born brother of Gary Neville opted instead to stay in England and focus on a number of other projects.
What next for Neville?
Neville is the co-owner of non-league side Salford City, along with a number of other members of Manchester United's famous Class of '92, so it's not like he's sat at home with his feet up and twiddling his thumbs.
"I know he's still involved with different age groups with England - which is great - because I think he has got a lot to offer," Giggs added. "He's doing well with his punditry because he's got that enthusiasm and that knowledge.
"He was really brilliant for me [during interim spell] because we'd talk about setting up training, but he would go out and deliver it. He would be the coach, and he would be the voice so he was great for me."
The former England international - who retired from playing in the summer of 2013 - will undoubtedly be keeping a close eye on Manchester United this season as they look to re-establish themselves as a major force, both domestically and in Europe, in the post-Ferguson era.
You can listen to the full Ryan Giggs interview below, where he also talks about life under Louis van Gaal and why he's had to stop taking so many notes on the Manchester United bench!
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