As news filtered through earlier this week that Gary Neville has taken over as the head coach of Valencia, there would be few who would not have done a double take. The Monday Night Football will never be the same again.
Having endeared himself to Manchester United fans with his grit and dedication to his craft and the club during his playing days, the elder of the two Nevilles — his younger brother Phil already in Valencia as assistant coach — found a place into the heart of all football fans with his tremendous insight and understanding of the game since taking over punditry and commentary.
Through it all, his desire for management was clear from day one and it would be a shame to waste all that knowledge. But the timing may have came as a shock for many.
While already fulfilling the assistant job with the English national team, Neville has given himself the best chance of taking over the coveted top job with his foray into Spanish football.
Success in Spain, that too at a club with notoriously fickle fans, will only add momentum as he guns for the top job when Roy Hogdson’s tenure comes to an end.
It’s a well informed and calculated move from the former England right back, like the ones he made all his career which included strict preparations before the game to be at his best on the field.
And by signing only till the end of the season, he has left his options open. While few would wish ill for the United man, he has left huge boots to fill in his wake.
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