Football

Gary Neville has the credentials to succeed at Valencia

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Life's all about taking risks. That's certainly what Gary Neville is doing by taking over at Valencia.

Not content with a prominent role on Sky Sports' football coverage, the former Manchester United defender has taken over from Nuno Espirito Santo until the end of the season and is tasked with improving the club's domestic form to ensure Champions League football next term.

It's another challenge in an already busy schedule for the 40-year-old.

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Along with fellow Class of '92 teammates Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and brother Phil, he's invested in English non-league side Salford City. The quintet have impressively already overseen a promotion and the club is currently on the cusp of the FA Cup third round.

Football man

Neville has on-field responsibilities too. The former right-back was brought in by Roy Hodgson as an England coach and has helped the Three Lions qualify for Euro 2016 with a perfect record of ten wins in ten games.

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With so much going on, Neville awkwardly admitted in his first press conference at the Mestalla that he won't be 100% focused on his role in eastern Spain.

"Valencia will be my priority 95% of the time but that doesn't stop me talking to Roy and the rest of the staff. I have a lot of hours in the day," said Neville.

Probably not the ideal way to get the skeptical Valencia fans on side.

Worldwide appeal

Neville's appointment may have appeared a little left field, but on closer inspection it's clear to see the former England international's considerable knowledge and work ethic were not just impressing people on British shores.

Valencia are owned by Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim. He also has a 50% stake in Salford City, and he's seen enough in Neville behind the scenes to feel he's the man to improve Los Che's stuttering form despite his lack of managerial experience.

Neville has admitted he turned down several management offers recently but felt Valencia was a role he couldn't pass up.

On the Up

And it's easy to see why.

Valencia boast one of Europe's largest stadiums and play in front of one of the most ardent fan bases in Spain.

Despite their poor form - and fan doubts over Lim - Los Che are only five points from the Champions League places and despite losing to Lyon in Neville's first game on Tuesday, have the opportunity to win the Europa League having finished 3rd in the group behind Zenit St Petersberg and Gent.

Neville will also inherit the youngest squad in La Liga with an abundance of talent including the highly-rated Sofiane Feghouli, Shkodran Mustafi and Spain international Paco Alcacer.

Lim has also dipped into his pocket and brought in the likes of Rodrigo, Enzo Perez and Andre Gomes for hefty fees.

Moment of truth

Neville will not be facing his first head coach challenge alone.

Brother Phil will be on hand as assistant having previously served in Nuno's backroom team and Valencia legend Angulo will provide local expertise.

But it will have dawned on Neville that this is a make or break moment as he tries to translate his theories into practice.

If that wasn't enough, there's an unwanted additional burden too.

After David Moyes' short stint at Real Sociedad, Neville will be flying the flag for British managers abroad at a time where confidence in them is low - a lot of pressure for a rookie.

Game time

Neville has moved his family to Spain and is taking intensive language lessons so his commitment to the cause cannot be questioned.

Valencia's future seems to be rosy. The big question remains if Neville will be around to see it first hand.

Can Gary Neville succeed at Valencia? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!

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Topics:
Valencia
La Liga
Gary Neville
Football
Phil Neville
Manchester United

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