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Neville faces baptism of fire in surprising new Los Che role

| 09.12.2015

Lee Gormley | December 7, 2015

Neville faces baptism of fire as Valencia boss

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville recently became a surprise appointment as head coach at La Liga club Valencia, and is set to link up with his brother Phil on the coaching staff until the end of this current campaign.

If the 40-year-old makes a positive impact at the Mestella Stadium during his initial spell, it’s highly likely he will be rewarded with a more long-term contract in his temporary surroundings. His younger sibling was declared as assistant to interim head coach Salvador Gonzalez Marco, or Voro, for a recent Copa del Rey win over third-tier side Barakaldo and a home league draw with champions Barcelona on Saturday.

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Therefore, now-former Sky Sports pundit Neville will take charge for a decisive Champions League Group H game on Wednesday as his maiden outing in the Spanish dugout, a true baptism of fire in Europe, and the newly-appointed Englishman is 5/1 to salvage the club’s domestic season by leading them to a fourth-place finish.

In the current climate, managers must make an instant impact in order to succeed, with David Moyes recently highlighting that after his dismissal from Real Sociedad, but Neville is odds-on 2/5 to still be charge on the New Year’s Eve next year and 7/4 to have left his role by that date.

Los Che role excites Neville

Neville stood down from his high-profile role as a pundit with immediate effect before his official appointment last Thursday, and the England assistant coach is ecstatic with his new role.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be given this opportunity with Valencia,” stated Neville. “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.”

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Valencia president Layhoon Chan was the one to present Neville to the media at last week’s press conference, and she outlined the former Old Trafford full back as the right choice to succeed the recently resigned Nuno Espirito Santo.

“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,” declared Chan.

Neville will have to re-establish Los Che’s rank in Spain and address their current domestic decline, having dropped well off the pace for a European spot, while a victory over Lyon in their Champions League group meeting is a must (7/5 win to nil) in his managerial bow. No pressure then.

He will come up against a familiar face in former Man Utd full back Rafael da Silva, the Brazilian that was tipped as his long-term successor at Old Trafford, but departed the club following an indifferent seven-year spell.

Although, his inherited squad holds plenty of talent capable of overturning such stuttering La Liga fortunes and recovering from third position in their European standings, with Paco Alcacer a mercurial forward that will undoubtedly be key to any success. Other stars such as Enzo Perez, Alvaro Negredo, Sofiane Feghouli and Daniel Parejo are also capable of helping their new boss hit the ground running. Neville is also 12/1 to knock an English club out of Europe’s elite club competition this term and 33/1 to end Man Utd’s run.

Neville to succeed in balancing act

Following his appointment as Los Che head coach, it looked as Neville may take a step down from his other highly-involved role as assistant to Roy Hodgson in the England international set-up, though that isn’t the case.

Gary Neville File Photo

“As far as I’m concerned, 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,” declared Hodgson regarding his assistant, who is 6/1 to be the next permanent England boss.

“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.”

Neville has shown great potential since retiring as a player, having earned 85 caps for his country and racked up an abundance of silverware honours for the Red Devils, and his Valencia job could eventually lead him towards further coveted jobs. Ryan Giggs is tipped to be the next in line for Old Trafford’s hotseat after Louis van Gaal, but Neville is 5/1 to take on that role permanently next instead.

Who will keep Carragher company?

He may not be leaving his role as England assistant, but Neville has left a gap in Sky Sports’ entertaining Monday Night Football, a show which the former Man Utd skipper showcased his astute analysing abilities each week, so who will replace him alongside Jamie Carragher?

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Thierry Henry joined the panel most recently and he is 6/4 favourite to take over from Neville, the same odds for colleague and former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp, while Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard are both 16/1 for the job, with the latter two Premier League midfield legends having previously arrived in the MLS.


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Lee Gormley

Lee joined the Coral team in 2014 after studying at Leeds Trinity University, having moved across the water from Ireland, and has plenty of industry experience from his time with various news outlets in both England and Northern Ireland. After graduating with a BA Honours degree in Sports Journalism, he has since become an important member of the talented sports desk, passionately covering boxing, football and snooker, among many other sports. Lee is also a massive Manchester United and Republic of Ireland fan, but curbs any bias during his work, and outside of his job can be found regularly taking part in sport himself, such as boxing, GAA and football.