Gary Neville Delaying England Link Up To Stay In Valencia
Under-pressure Valencia boss Gary Neville will stay with his club this week rather than travelling to fulfil his role as England’s assistant coach. Neville has opted to show his resilience in Spain rather than joining his nation’s coaching staff for their friendlies against Germany and Holland.
Gary Neville will delay meeting up with the England squad in order to take Valencia training in the coming days, following his side’s crushing 2-0 defeat at home to Celta Vigo on Sunday. The third consecutive La Liga defeat left Neville’s side six points above the relegation zone.
The former Sky Sports pundit left the Mestalla stadium to a chorus of boos and chants for his resignation but denies that his move to stay with his club is a decision made out of panic. Following Celta’s 2nd of the match, the home fans responding with chants of “Neville go now”.
The series of La Liga defeats has increased the pressure on Neville, who was expected to fulfil his England commitments and support Roy Hodgson as of Monday ahead of difficult friendlies against rivals Germany and Holland.
Neville’s decision makes him an almost unrecognisable figure from the character that joined the Spanish giants at the turn of the new year – it’s certainly an interesting hypothetical to consider what the Gary Neville of the Sky Sports punditry era would’ve made of these split loyalties…
“I feel it’s the right thing to do.
Obviously it’s not an ideal situation, in respect to the fact that before I came here I’m the assistant coach for the national team of England, with 60 million people, but I understand the two or three million people in Valencia need my attention this week.”
Neville, 41, seems keen to avoid what he would consider to be a defamation of character from the loyal Valencia supporters:
“The last thing I want is for people here to say Gary Neville lacks commitment, because it’s not something that’s ever been said about me in my life.”
Neville’s Split Loyalties – Club vs Country
As Euro 2016 approaches, England fans have cause to question Neville’s decision to neglect the invaluable preparation time before the qualifiers – opting to persevere with what many perceive to be a sinking ship at the Mestalla rather than deliver on his obligations to his country.
“Obviously I have a dual role, at this moment in time. I’ve been England coach for three and a half years and I’ve loved doing that. These are friendly matches, very important matches for England, but I also have three very important days here coaching the players.”
Casting an eye back to when Neville accepted the Valencia role shows an severe error of judgement from the former Manchester United man, who claimed at the time that he would be able to manage both roles simultaneously.
Evidently this has proved not to be the case, no doubt Valencia’s poor run of form has contributed to his inability to juggle his responsibilities.
Roy Hodgson appears to have misplaced his trust in Neville, remarking when the Manchurian took the role:
“Gary’s commitment to The FA’s preparations for Euro 2016 will not be in any way affected by the fact that he will be coaching abroad during the next five months.
“Like the rest of the England coaching staff, Gary will be fully committed to preparing for the Euros in France and our friendly matches which begin in March against Germany and Holland.”
Roy Hodgson, December 2015
Clearly Gary Neville is not ‘fully committed’ as Roy Hodgson and England fans expected. Neville has been an inspirational figure in the dressing room for the youthful England squad – a voice of experience and leadership.
But perhaps now the time has come for Neville to make a choice, as his position as both Valencia boss and England assistant appears to be unsustainable.
The choice seems to be clear for Gary Neville – club or country?
Or more specifically, a club where the supporters don’t appreciate you and want you gone, or the country that adored you as a player, pundit and coach.
It would appear to be a clear choice on the surface, but it depends where Neville’s loyalties or moreover, where his career ambitions lie.