Just over two weeks ago Gary Neville was appointed as the new manager of Spanish giants Valencia in a move which shocked many footballing fans and players around the world.
With only three years of coaching experience as part the England national team, Neville was deemed an odd choice by Valencia fans. After overseeing four games as manager, how is Neville getting on and what does the future hold for the Englishman?
Firstly, it is imperative to mention Neville is one of the most passionate and hard-working men in football and he will do anything to succeed in Spain.
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His former manager Sir Alex Ferguson recently backed him to flourish as a full-time coach: “His leadership skills are strong, he’s honest and he’s hard working.”
Neville also holds a UEFA Pro Coaching Licence which he worked towards previously. The Englishman has also bought each player in the Valencia an iPad out of his own money, to help train them and break down the language barrier.
This cost the former England international in the region of £20,000 - showing his desire to be a success. Neville is also taking Spanish lessons each morning with the hope he can learn the language quicker to fully communicate with his players.
Despite his best efforts, the former Manchester United player has not had the greatest of starts to life in Spain. He has just one cup win from his first four encounters on Spanish soil.
Approaching his first transfer window as manager, Neville has criticised the press for their expectation for him to make a number of signings.
Whilst he never explicitly said he would not conduct business in the window, the former Sky Sports pundit defiantly said he would work with the team he has and give youth players a chance.
Perhaps his determination to promote youth is because of Ferguson's faith in him and the rest of ‘The Class of 92’ who became the backbone for a very successful Manchester United team for the subsequent ten years after their debuts. Indeed, Neville seems intent on creating a youthful, aggressive and attacking team during his tenure as Valencia manager.
Although it is impossible to accurately predict how Neville will get on during his time at Valencia due to his lack of experience as a manager, the general perception is that he will be a success.
A great player, he was hated by rival fans for his love and passion for Manchester United, but since becoming a pundit on Sky Sports he has developed into a well-respected individual in the game.
Will he one day become Manchester United manager?
As a Red Devils legend, many fans would one day want to see Neville as their manager, leading them to trophies. However, if he is a success at Valencia, his future could lay elsewhere.
Currently, there are very few English coaches managing foreign teams, never mind Europe’s elite teams. If he can conquer during his time in Spain, surely he has a shot of managing one of the best teams in Europe?
His appointment in Spain could also lead to a surge of English coaches going abroad to manage European teams. If Neville is successful, he could pave the way for a better standard of British coaching and an improved reputation for British managers generally.
With his footballing wisdom, incredible work ethic and passion for the game, Neville has every attribute required to be a success at Valencia.
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