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Neville took Valencia job to preserve credibility

Gary Neville believes he would have said “goodbye to his credibility” had he not taken the job of Valencia coach.

Neville was appointed at Mestalla on Wednesday on a deal until the end of the season and, although he will continue to work as one of England boss Roy Hodgson’s assistants, he is giving up his role as a pundit on Sky television.

Asked why he was replacing the relative ease of the studio for the dugout, he replied: “I have been offered jobs in football over the past five years but the timing never felt right. But when I received the call on Sunday evening I thought ‘what a club, what an opportunity, what a challenge’.

“From my point of view, sitting on TV over the past few years, talking about coaches, the time has now come to stand up.

“This is a wonderful club and if I had turned down this job I would have said goodbye to my credibility.”

Neville, who succeeds Nuno Espirito Santo following his resignation in the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at Sevilla, admits that if he was analysing the appointment in his previous role, he would have doubts.

“I’d question it as a neutral observer, I’d be sceptical and want to be proved different,” he added.

“I know I need to prove myself to the Valencia players and fans that I can do this job. Those doubts can only be wiped out by good results.”

Former Manchester United and England full-back Neville, who will be assisted by brother Phil and former Valencia forward Miguel Angel Angulo, concedes learning the language will be his hardest task.

He said: “Spanish is going to be my biggest challenge as I don’t speak the language.

“I will take lessons every day but I can’t find a teacher who will get up at 6am to give me lessons! I want to do what Philip has done, his Spanish is fantastic in terms of talking to the players and I have to show that same level of commitment.”

Although Neville’s immediate deal is short-term, he is adopting a long-term view.

“The only way to approach any football job is to see it as a permanent job. Every decision I make will be a long-term decision. We will appoint people from within. I am not interested in bringing over an army of coaches [from England],” he said.

“What I always wanted when I was at a club was for foreign players to show commitment and immerse themselves in the culture of the city and it’s important I do that.

“My family will move over here permanently. My kids will finish in school in two weeks’ time and they will come here.”

Neville will take charge after Saturday’s La Liga game with European champions Barcelona at Mestalla.

“I respect the huge responsibility that I have been given and accepted. I understand that from playing here the passion and intimidation of the fans and I want to recreate that and harness that through the players in the coming months,” he added.

“I am aware of the traditions of Valencia and how they play. My responsibility is to appraise the players as soon as possible and pick the best style of play. We don’t have a pre-season and we have huge games coming up.

“It’s important to pick the right team irrespective of style.”

Valencia chairwoman Layhoon Chan insisted Neville was not appointed simply due to his relationship with club owner Peter Lim, with whom he shares a stake in English non-league side Salford City. 

“His appointment is not about nationality, or his friendship with Peter. His experience and qualities are what we need at this moment,” she said. 

“On Monday in my press conference I said we would be looking for a new coach that can provide strong leadership, give a fresh approach to our sporting plan and, most importantly, value the engagement with our fans.

“Gary is an excellent coach who has all the qualities that Valencia need right now.

“He is a leader, a great motivator and is hugely respected in football for his understanding of the game. His personal experience of success at the highest level will help inspire our players.

“Peter and I have known Gary for many years in a personal and professional capacity and we recognise something special in him.”

Thu 3 Dec, 2015
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