Former Liverpool midfielder Didi Hamann believes Gary Neville has taken a “big, big chance” by accepting the Valencia job and admits he isn’t sure it’s the right move for the ex-Manchester United captain.
Hamann feels Neville would have landed a big job in the Premier League at some point during 2016 and can’t explain why the 40-year-old has decided to take such a huge risk at this early stage in his career.
Neville, who will need to learn Spanish, has replaced Nuno Espirito Santo at Mestalla after the Portuguese coach resigned following Valencia’s 1-0 defeat to Sevilla last Sunday.
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“I’m very surprised and I’m not sure it’s the right move,” Hamann said on talkSPORT earlier today. “He’s in a very good position. He’s doing his Monday Night Football [on Sky], which he does very well, and he’s assistant manager to Roy Hodgson [with England].
“Going to a foreign country as your first job – and I know his brother is there and will have done some homework having been there for a few months – but it’s a huge, huge task.
“To go abroad, not speaking the language and not knowing the league is a huge task. I don’t really understand why he’s done it because he would have got a big job in England in six or 12 months’ time.
“I think he’s taking a big, big chance.”
Neville to continue with England, but quits Sky
Neville will continue in his role as England coach ahead of next summer’s European Championships in France but has been forced to quit Sky Sports.
The retired right-back has cemented his reputation as the best football pundit on television over the past four years and British football fans will miss his insight.
It is a huge task for Neville
However, this was clearly an opportunity that Neville felt he simply couldn’t afford to turn down.
That he already has a good relationship with the Valencia owner Peter Lim should ensure he is given time to make his mark on the current squad. He is currently contracted until the end of the season - although it’s unclear what will happen after that.
Valencia’s supporters are a demanding bunch and will expect Neville to help the club secure a top-four finish come the end of the season.
Currently ninth in the Spanish league table, five points behind fourth-placed Celta Vigo, that particularly objective should be achievable for Neville.
Is Didi Hamann right: has Gary Neville made a big mistake? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.