Gary Neville will report for international duty when the England squad meet up in Manchester today to make his debut as part of Roy Hodgson's coaching staff but his former Manchester United team-mate Roy Keane said he did not expect Neville "to be calling the shots" in his new role.
Keane, who played alongside Neville for 12 years, said: "Don't think for one minute he was as influential in the dressing room as people might think he was. Gary would say his piece, but he wasn't running the show – far from it. So don't think for one minute he will be going into England and calling the shots. He will be learning his trade and being a link between the manager and the players. He will be good at that."
Gareth Southgate, who already combines punditry with working for the Football Association, said he expected Neville to fill the liaison role Bryan Robson did successfully at Euro 96, in which he and Neville played. "Bryan was already a manager then [with Middlesbrough] but he didn't take too many training sessions. I don't think Roy was looking for a coach in terms of being on the pitch, putting on sessions with the players. As I understand it, the role is more about giving Roy an insight into the dressing room, a more recent player's perspective. Gary's closer to what that feels like. As a manager and a coach I think you need that sometimes."
Neville, capped 85 times by his country, is qualified to Uefa A licence standard, the second level, below Pro, but is yet to use the qualifications having been doing media work, primarily with Sky, since retiring last year.
"There's lot of thumbs up, everyone says it is a good appointment, but let's wait and see how it pans out," said Keane. "Hopefully he'll do well. Gary's a decent guy and he's played at a decent level, but that doesn't guarantee you success."
Keane, who has managed Sunderland and Ipswich, added: "I'm surprised he has kept his role with doing TV. That can be difficult.He probably won't be as critical as me and speak in the terms I do. I know Gareth does it, but Gareth's not in the dressing room, he's not working with the players."Reuse content