Gary Neville named Valencia head coach in first management role
By Kate Burlaga
Last Updated: 02/12/15 6:14pm
Gary Neville has been appointed the new head coach of Valencia until the end of the season.
Neville has been working as an England coach and as an award-winning analyst for Sky Sports since retiring as a player in 2011 but now takes up his first managerial role.
The former Manchester United captain - whose brother Phil was named co-caretaker following Nuno's decision last week to step down as boss - has agreed a five-month contract but will continue to help Roy Hodgson in the run-up to Euro 2016.
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"Valencia have reached an agreement with English coach Gary Neville for him to be coach of the first team until June 30, 2016," a statement from the La Liga club released on Wednesday lunchtime read.
Neville will be unveiled to the media on Thursday afternoon (3pm, UK time) and take charge on Sunday ahead of Valencia's Champions League game against Lyon on Wednesday.
"I am absolutely thrilled to be given this opportunity with Valencia," Neville told the club's official website.
"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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"I am really looking forward to working with the club's talented group of players and am excited about the challenge ahead."
Neville is one of the most decorated English footballers of all time, having won 20 trophies including eight Premier League titles and two Champions League crowns.
He spent his entire playing career at Old Trafford - making more than 600 appearances - and won 85 England caps.
"We are delighted to have secured Gary so quickly," Valencia president Layhoon Chan said: "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."
Neville's detailed tactical analysis on Sky Sports has won him a string of accolades - including a Royal Television Society award in March for his work on Monday Night Football - and he admitted his "incredible" role had made him "love football more".
No one understands football better than Sky Sports, so it has been no surprise that they have fully supported and understood the decision that I have made to go to Valencia for the next five months.
"Sky has probably been one of the best decisions I have ever made, simply an incredible job that I have loved doing," Neville told Sky Sports.
"The team that I have worked with on match days and MNF have been simply unbelievable, their knowledge of the game, their passion, their work ethos has made me love football more.
"No one understands football better than Sky Sports, so it has been no surprise that they have fully supported and understood the decision that I have made to go to Valencia for the next five months."
Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis said: "We wish Gary all the very best as he returns to football with our blessing and begins his managerial career with Valencia.
"He will always be a friend of Sky Sports and we look forward to following the next chapter of his career closely, not least during our weekly La Liga coverage. And of course, the door will always be open should he wish to return."
England boss Hodgson, who had tipped the former defender to become a "fine manager in time" when asked about his credentials earlier this year, said he was "100 per cent" behind Neville's move.
"I'm delighted that Gary has decided to take this excellent opportunity," Hodgson said.
"It's the right moment in time for him and I'm 100 per cent behind his decision to join Valencia as the new head coach.
"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.
"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."
The Nevilles have a connection to the Spanish side through owner Peter Lim, the Singaporean businessman who bought a stake in Salford City from the brothers and their former Manchester United team-mates Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt.
Phil Neville, whose role is yet to be confirmed, left his own job as a pundit in June to join the coaching staff at the Mestalla.
Valencia remain in contention for the Champions League knockout stages but have struggled in the league this term, winning just five of 11 games after last season's fourth-placed finish.
Their next La Liga match is at home to champions Barcelona on Saturday - live on Sky Sports.
Phil Neville will take charge of that game along with co-caretaker Voro, before Gary attempts to guide his new side to the Champions League last 16 for the first time in three years.