Not since Liverpool's comeback against AC Milan in the 2005 Champion's League final have we witnessed such a stirring comeback in football. When he retired, Gary Neville wouldn't have been far off the title for most disliked footballer - fast forward a couple of years and he was arguably the most respected pundit in the game.
Likeability doesn't win trophies, however, so many would be foolish to believe that Neville's popularity in the UK will translate into success at Valencia. But the belief that he will succeed stems from his work as a pundit; he's offered an in-depth view on the game that goes beyond the knowledge of the average fan. Before we were being told what was happening, after Neville, we were finding out why it was happening.
His charisma, tactical awareness and leadership are vital qualities that provide him with a solid foundation at Valencia, but is the task still a little too great for him?
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No one can fault Neville's ambition, if taking over a club the size of Valencia in his first managerial role is courageous, doing so when he doesn't speak the language is nothing short of remarkable. At first Neville would obviously have been overwhelmed with excitement - it will take a few weeks of the job for him to realise the mammoth task that lies ahead of him.
There is a huge pressure at Valencia to reach the Champions League places come May, a feat they only just achieved come the end of last season. If Neville were to achieve that goal, he would be lauded as a genius and likely heralded as the next England manager. If he were to spectacularly fail - which isn't an impossibility - what happens to his credibility as a pundit should he return to a career in the media?
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All the criticisms and analysis won't have the same credence from a man who failed as a manager.
Good news for England
Whether Neville fails or not, his appointment in Spain will certainly be of benefit to the English national team. His tactical knowledge will surely improve from pitting his wits against Rafael Benitez and Luis Enrique, as well as grasping more of an understanding of the Spanish game - a factor which may prove pivotal should the sides meet at Euro 2016.
Should he be a success at Valencia, his temporary arrangement could lead to a permanent position, or possibly prompt Premier League clubs to take a chance on him. With all the negativity surrounding Louis Van Gaal at the moment, Neville could have timed his surge into management perfectly.
He'll undoubtedly know how to please the United faithful more than Van Gaal currently does.
Will Neville be in charge at Valencia next season?
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