In Depth

Gary Neville takes over at Valencia – is England job next?

Sky pundit's decision to take over at Spanish club has pundits scratching their heads

Gary Neville

Gary Neville has been appointed head coach of Spanish club Valencia until the end of the season.

The shock move sees the former Manchester United and England defender, who has resigned from his job as a Sky Sports pundit, reunited with his brother Phil, who is already on the coaching staff at the Mestella Stadium.

He takes over from Nuno Espirito Santo who stepped down following defeat to Sevilla at the weekend.

Neville takes over the side, who are ninth in La Liga, on Sunday the day after they play Barcelona, a game that will be shown on Sky Sports.

But why has the popular pundit taken the role?

His decision may have been prompted by one of his many other football interests, suggests The Times. "Valencia are owned by Peter Lim, the Singaporean billionaire who also has a stake in Salford City, the non-league club co-owned by the Neville brothers along with Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt, all members of the 'Class of 92' who developed under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Or could it be the first step towards the England manager's job?

Neville will continue in his role as an England coach until the end of the season, and there has been speculation that by taking the role in Spain, Neville is positioning himself to take over from current national boss Roy Hodgson.

The odds on Neville succeeding Hodgson were slashed after the news, reports Sporting Life, and he is now being offered at 3-1 to become the next England manager.

But there have been plenty of raised eyebrows on social media over the move.

Sky Sports told The Guardian that Neville was leaving with their blessing and that he remained "a friend" of the broadcaster. "The door will always be open should he wish to return," it added.

That could happen sooner rather than later, given the fate of other British managers in Spain. David Moyes was sacked by Real Sociedad a day before his first anniversary at the club, while Chris Coleman lasted only seven months at the same club.

However, the likes of Bobby Robson, John Toshack and Terry Venables enjoyed success in Spain in the 1980s and 90s.

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