Neville set for an England recall – as a coach for Euro 2012

Hodgson thinks Everton veteran can be an ideal bridge between players and staff this summer

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The Independent Online

Phil Neville, 35, and nearing the end of his seventh season at Everton, is the first choice of the Football Association and Roy Hodgson, right, to join the England back-room staff for next month's European Championship. He is due to be approached this week.

These are crucial days for Hodgson as he tries to piece together a staff, not to mention a squad, while completing his duties at West Bromwich Albion. Neville, he hopes, will give his back-room staff a youthful element and, as a former international with 59 caps who has played alongside many of the current older players, provide the crucial bridge from the staff to the team.

The FA head of elite development, Gareth Southgate, remains a name in the frame for the job. But should it be Neville, it is anticipated that he would be with England for Euro 2012 only, and that in the autumn Hodgson will appoint a permanent coach.

As far as his coaching badges go, Neville has completed his B licence and is understood to be studying for his A licence this summer. Hodgson will take on the vast majority of the coaching responsibilities with England, as is his way, while Neville, if he goes, will be there in a much more junior capacity. Hodgson has appointed Ray Lewington as his temporary assistant, having cut Stuart Pearce from the senior team back-room staff.

As for the squad itself, there is a major decision to be made on whether to take John Terry or Rio Ferdinand, with Terry's court case for alleged racial abuse of Ferdinand's brother Anton looming. The suggestion is that it could be Terry who is left behind when the squad is announced a week today.

Otherwise the indications are that Hodgson will favour experience and make sweeping changes after Euro 2012. That would suggest the likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Gareth Barry are all set to retain their places for this tournament.

The fitness of Theo Walcott remains a prime consideration. So too that of Darren Bent, the Aston Villa striker. In terms of his wide players, Hodgson has to perm around four from Walcott, James Milner, Ashley Young, Aaron Lennon, Stewart Downing, Adam Johnson and the uncapped Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

One advantage Hodgson does have is that he knows Ben Foster better than most managers and is best-placed to persuade the Birmingham City goalkeeper, who has been on loan at West Bromwich this season, to end his international sabbatical and return to the squad this summer. Foster represents the best alternative to Joe Hart, should the No 1 choice get injured.

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