‘Honest, hard working’ Gary Neville will be a hit at Valencia, says former Man United manager Ferguson

Gary Neville's 'leadership skills are strong ... he is the type of character who is not afraid of making big decisions, which is a vital skill when leading' says Alex Ferguson of the new Valencia manager.

Then-Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson shown with then-player Gary Neville during an August 2008 match. Phil Cole / Getty Images
Powered by automated translation

Gary Neville's surprise appointment as Valencia's new head coach has been endorsed by his former manager at Manchester United Alex Ferguson.

News that the former Man United captain would take the reins at the La Liga club for the remainder of the campaign sent shockwaves around England and Spain.

Neville has become a popular pundit with Sky Sports and a key coach in the England set-up since retiring during the 2010/11 campaign, although management has long been an ambition.

Read more: Andy Mitten writes Phil Neville still on coaching course at Valencia with their hire of Gary

The former right-back recently completed his Pro Licence course at St George’s Park and will get his first taste of management in the unlikely surroundings of Valencia, where he will work alongside brother Phil, who had been coach at the club under predecessor Nuno Espirito Santo.

Ferguson, who managed Neville for every one of his 602 appearances in a Manchester United shirt, believes the 40-year-old has the tools to succeed in Spain.

The Scot told Sky Sports News: “Gary has many attributes that suggest he will be successful in management. His leadership skills are strong, he’s honest and he’s hard working. He is the type of character who is not afraid of making big decisions, which is a vital skill when leading.

“I think he’ll do well and I wish him, and his brother Phil, good luck.”

The pressures that come with the challenge ahead mean Neville has left his job as a Sky Sports analyst, although the Football Association has confirmed he will remain in his role with England.

Neville will still play a key role in England’s Euro 2016 preparations, despite being based in Spain, and head coach Roy Hodgson believes he will flourish in the role.

“I’m delighted that Gary has decided to take this excellent opportunity,” he 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.”

Neville will be unveiled as Valencia head coach at a press conference on Thursday, but Sunday will be his first official day in the Mestalla hotseat.

Younger brother Phil and interim manager Voro took charge of Wednesday's 3-1 Copa del Rey victory over Barakaldo and, most intriguingly, they will preside over Saturday's enticing La Liga clash with Barcelona.

Neville’s first match in charge will be the home Champions League clash with Lyon on December 9 – a match Valencia have to win to stand any chance of progressing to the knock-out stages.

Los Che sit third in Group H and ninth in the La Liga standings, with coach Nuno quitting following Sunday's loss to Sevilla – a decision the Portuguese informed owner Peter Lim of prior to kick-off on Sunday.

The Singaporean businessman has ties to the Neville brothers through Salford City, which he owns a 50 per cent stake in with the rest split between Gary, Phil, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes.

Younger brother Phil has been with Valencia since July and reports suggest England’s performance analysis manager Andy Scoulding could follow them to the Spanish club.

Follow us on Twitter @NatSportUAE