The Sports Matrix: Tuesday 15 May 2012


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New coach Neville touted as future England manager

Gary Neville yesterday joined Roy Hodgson's back-room staff at England by signing a four-year deal to become a coach and, so the Football Association hopes, an England manager of the future.

Neville, who won 85 caps for his country – more than any other right-back – was first contacted by Hodgson last Tuesday, after the England manager took soundings from the Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, on his suitability for the role. His four-year deal will mean he is in place for the European Championship next month and the following tournament in 2016, as well as the World Cup finals in Brazil in 2014.

"Roy asking me to be a part of his staff and to work with the national team is not only an honour but a very special moment for me," said the 37-year-old. "I had absolutely no hesitation in accepting this role and I am relishing the opportunity."

Neville will continue in his role as a pundit for Sky Sports.

His former team-mate at Manchester United, Paul Scholes, has signed to play for the club for another season. Scholes, 37, ended a brief retirement in January and has since made 21 appearances for the club. MORE

Lambert emerges as top Villa target

Aston Villa will move for Norwich City's Paul Lambert to become their new manager, after sacking Alex McLeish yesterday. Villa's chairman and owner, Randy Lerner, said he had been disappointed with the club's lack of direction. MORE

Late Porter header enough for Blades

Sheffield United last night reached the League One play-off final, after beating Stevenage 1-0 at Bramall Lane. Chris Porter's 85th-minute header was enough to win the tie; the Blades will now take on Huddersfield or MK Dons at Wembley on 26 May.

Mancini keen for early additions

Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager, is preparing to retain the title and wants to move rapidly in the transfer market. He has identified Lille's Eden Hazard, Arsenal's Robin van Persie and Napoli's Edinson Cavani as targets. MORE

Too costly for QPR to sack Barton

Queen's Park Rangers want to dismiss Joey Barton, whom they expect to be banned for up to 12 games following his conduct at Manchester City on Sunday, but the lucrative terms of his long-term contract will make the cost of doing so £12.5m. MORE

Cavendish crashes yet again at Giro

Mark Cavendish crashed again at the Giro d'Italia yesterday, 400m from the finish, but escaped serious injury as Spain's Francisco Ventoso won the ninth stage. The Isle of Man sprinter had been involved in an incident during stage three of the event. MORE

FIA to investigate garage blaze

The FIA is to investigate the reasons for the fire that broke out in the Williams garage at the Circuit de Catalunya on Sunday, 90 minutes after Pastor Maldonado had won the Spanish Grand Prix for the team. 31 people were injured. MORE

No 3 Nadal doesn't care about ranking

Rafael Nadal yesterday dropped outside the top two positions in the world rankings for the first time for more than two years, but the 25-year-old said it made no difference to his thinking. "Being No 2 or No 3 isn't going to change my goal," he said. MORE

Bairstow relaxed ahead of first Test

Jonny Bairstow has spoken of England's Test against West Indies at Lord's on Thursday, in which he could gain his first cap. "It will be a proud moment, if selected," the 22-year-old said. "But at end of the day it is another game of cricket." MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

If the Premier League of 2011-12 produced an extraordinary degree of intrigue up to the last moment, it could not be said to be the best season ever. Roberto Di Matteo's Chelsea, however, could yet improve it. MORE