Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Experience Is Key for Gary; Neville's England Role Could Be Vital Link for Squad

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Experience Is Key for Gary; Neville's England Role Could Be Vital Link for Squad

Article excerpt

NEW England manager Roy Hodgson believes Gary Neville will make an invaluable contribution to his coaching team.

Hodgson sprang a major surprise yesterday by confirming Neville's appointment on a four-year contract.

It had been known that Hodgson wanted someone with relevant playing experience alongside him at Euro 2012, but if was felt Neville's brother Phil was a more likely candidate, or alternatively, Liverpool's Jamie Carragher.

Instead, Hodgson has turned to the elder Neville brother to be his first fulltime appointment following the parttime arrivals of Fulham coach Ray Lewington and Birmingham City goalkeeping coach Dave Watson.

"Gary has achieved so much in the game as a player with Manchester United and England," said Hodgson.

"He has obtained Uefa coaching qualifications and will be tremendously respected by the players because of his vast experience as a player.

"At my first meeting with the FA, I explained that Gary was someone I wanted as part of my staff. I think it is very important we have a younger coach who knows the dressing room and is very experienced at international level.

"That he has represented England as a player at five major finals tournaments will make him an invaluable member of staff."

Neville's appointment has been sanctioned by the Football Association even though he has frequently been critical of the organisation.

The 37-year-old led the calls from strike action to be taken by England players in 2004 over the FA's treatment of Manchester United team-mate Rio Ferdinand and his missed drugs test.

Last year, by which time he had retired from the game after 602 United appearances and 85 England caps, Neville was unhappy at the way Wayne Rooney's case was handled after the striker swore into a TV camera.

And as recently as February, he branded the FA "inconsistent" and "halfhearted" when they stripped John Terry of the England captaincy.

That the FA should now be willing to give Neville such a prominent role, and allow him to continue in his pundits' role for Sky Sports and do a column for the Mail on Sunday outside of major tournaments, says much about both their trust in him and also Hodgson, whose own position was only confirmed a fortnight ago. …

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