New coach Neville seen as manager material


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The Independent Online

Roy Hodgson made the most notable appointment of his England reign so far when he announced yesterday that Gary Neville will be a coach in his backroom staff and, the Football Association hopes, potentially an England manager of the future.

Neville's commitment to Hodgson's England project is not in doubt, having signed a four-year deal that will mean he is in place for this European Championship and the next in 2016 as well as the World Cup finals in Brazil in 2014. He was first contacted by Hodgson last Tuesday, after the England manager took soundings from Sir Alex Ferguson on Neville's suitability for the role.

Neville, 37, will continue as a pundit for Sky Sports, where he has developed a reputation for trenchant opinions since his retirement in February 2011. Hodgson has appointed coach Ray Lewington and goalkeeping coach Dave Watson for Euro 2012 only but Neville has, like the England manager, signed for four years.

It is understood that Hodgson, pictured, could make one more appointment to his staff, perhaps another coach. He has a second goalkeeping coach, Ray Clemence, in place, giving him a current staff of four. Hodgson will name his squad for Euro 2012 tomorrow at Wembley.

Neville's younger brother Phil, 35, was also under consideration by Hodgson and the FA. There is understood to have been a conversation between Phil's Everton manager, David Moyes, and Hodgson about him. It was thought by Moyes that Phil, who has worked as part of the Under-21s set-up, would find the transition to coach in the senior team difficult because he is still playing.

Gary Neville has completed his Uefa A and B coaching licenses and is one of those the FA would like to fast-track through the system.

The FA is eager never again to have to struggle to appoint an Englishman as the England manager. Developing Neville as a potential successor will be crucial to the FA's new Club England ethos. His former team-mate at Manchester United, Paul Scholes, has signed to play for the club for another season. Scholes, 37, ended his brief retirement in January.