Older Neville takes charge

First team coach Gary Neville working with the players during England training. His brother Phil will handle Valencia against Barcelona on Saturday, after which he will take over.
First team coach Gary Neville working with the players during England training. His brother Phil will handle Valencia against Barcelona on Saturday, after which he will take over.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Gary replaces Nuno as Valencia head coach, with Phil already assistant manager since July

MADRID • Gary Neville, a member of the England coaching team and former Manchester United defender, has been appointed head coach of Valencia - joining his brother, Phil, at the La Liga football club.

Valencia, who are ninth in Spain's top division, were looking for a new head coach after the resignation of Nuno Espirito Santo on Sunday in the wake of a 1-0 defeat by Sevilla.

Phil, who has been assistant manager since July, was placed in charge of training in the meantime.

Neville, 40, has become a well-respected pundit at Sky Sports since retiring from football in February 2011. He has worked alongside Roy Hodgson, the England manager, since 2012.

"I am absolutely thrilled to be given this opportunity with Valencia," said Neville, who will take charge on Sunday after the league game against Barcelona at the Mestalla.

Phil, 38, who was named assistant this week to interim coach Salvador Gonzalez, known as Voro, will be in charge for the Barca game on Saturday.

"Valencia are a huge football club of immense standing and I know from my time as a player the passion and dedication of the Valencia fans," added Neville.

"I am really looking forward to working with the club's talented group of players and am excited about the challenge ahead."

Valencia are owned by Peter Lim, the Singaporean billionaire who also has a stake in Salford City, the English non-league club co-owned by the Neville brothers along with Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt, all members of the "Class of 92" who developed under Alex Ferguson at United.

"We are delighted to have secured Gary so quickly," said Valencia's president Chan Lay Hoon. "He combines top-level coaching experience through his role as a senior coach with the England national team and a world-class playing career with England and Manchester United.

"Throughout his career Gary has always shown great leadership both on and off the pitch.

"He is hugely respected in English football and it was his personal qualities which persuaded us that he was the right choice to lead Valencia until the end of the season."

Valencia, who were champions in 2002 and 2004 under Rafael Benitez, currently have 19 points in La Liga, five points off the Champions League places and 14 adrift of leaders Barcelona. They are third in their Champions League group but still in with a chance of making the knockout stage.

Hodgson confirmed that Neville will continue to work with England in the build-up to Euro 2016 in France.

"I'm delighted that Gary has decided to take this excellent opportunity. It's the right moment in time for him and I'm 100 per cent behind his decision to join Valencia," he said.

"This will be an extra string to his bow and the experience he will gain working in the Spanish league can only be beneficial to our work together with the England team. Gary's commitment to the FA's preparations for Euro 2016 will not be in any way affected by the fact that he will be coaching abroad during the next five months."

Sky Sports said "the door will always be open should he (Neville) wish to return".

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 03, 2015, with the headline 'Older Neville takes charge'. Print Edition | Subscribe