Why mutinous Gary Neville is a shrewd choice for England
Outspoken former United man will pep up England camp as he joins Hodgson as coach
GARY NEVILLE, the firebrand former Manchester United full-back who once tried to instigate a player mutiny against the FA, is to join Roy Hodgson's backroom staff as a coach.
The 37-year-old, who retired as a player last year, spent the last season working as a pundit with Sky, where he has been something of a revelation. He will now combine that role with his new England duties.
The move has been widely applauded. "He will be respected in the dressing room and will act as an ideal link man between players and manager, having been an international team-mate of the likes of Steven Gerrard," said The Sun.
The Daily Telegraph said Hodgson and Neville would be a "good blend" and described the dynamic between them as "wise owl and young lion".
It added: "Neville's role will be part-coach, part regimental sergeant major and part-friend to the stars. Hodgson can shape the players tactically."
The Times says the appointment is "shrewd". Neville, unlike many of his contemporaries, has analysed his own career "and considered how it all could have been done so much better".
It also applauds Hodgson for resisting the temptation to appoint a friend or a "yes-man".
Neville was a divisive character as a player and did not shy away from controversy. He enraged Liverpool fans in 2006 by running half the length of the pitch to taunt them after United scored a late winner at Old Trafford. Three years earlier he tried to instigate an England player strike after Rio Ferdinand was dropped from the squad for missing a drugs test.
He has routinely criticised the FA but Sam Wallace of The Independent says the appointment shows maturity. "It probably says a lot about both parties, not least the way the FA is trying to change, that both saw able to see past their differences in the past to get Neville on to Hodgson's staff."
The other bonus is that that presence of Neville on the England staff could persuade Paul Scholes, who is actually three months older than him, out of international retirement.