Roy Keane plays down Gary Neville's role at Euro 2012
According to former team-mate Roy Keane, Gary Neville will not be "calling the shots" as part of England's back-room staff at Euro 2012 and the full-back was "far from" running the show at Manchester United. 37 year-old Neville was named as part of Roy Hodgson's staff and has signed a four-year contract with the FA ahead of the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine after featuring on Sky Sports as a pundit throughout the channel's coverage of this season's Premier League campaign. Neville has won many of the public and sections of the media over with his honest, unbiased and forthright views as part of Sky's team and was seen, on the whole, as a positive appointment by Hodgson.
Keane, an ITV pundit during Euro 2012, believes that Neville will find his first foray into coaching a testing one although he believes that Neville will eventually excel in the role. "It is important you are yourself. Gary can talk a bit, but don't think for one minute he was as influential in the dressing room as people might think he was," said the 40 year-old Irishman.
"Gary would say his piece, but he wasn't running the show far, from it so don't think for one minute he will be going into England and calling the shots. He will be learning his trade and being a link between the manager and the players and I think he will be good at that.
"He has not done any coaching before, I know he has done his coaching qualifications, but sitting in a studio talking about teams is very different. There is no point building them up too much and there is no point knocking them either. Give the man a chance," added the former Sunderland and Ipswich manager.
Neville is likely to be unfazed by Keane's frank appraisal of his chances of success as part of England's Euro 2012 team and will no doubt be looking to give back to his country in any way possible after a fine career that saw him capped 85 times at senior international level. Keane, who Neville replaced as United captain when the former retired, believes that Neville's glittering career is no guarantee for success as a coach, saying "Hopefully he will do well. Gary is a decent guy and he has played at a decent level, but that doesn't guarantee you success."
Rob Harris of the Associated Press surmised Keane's comments as "cautious about (Neville's) transition into first coaching job" which is fair cop, particularly given Keane's history in gleefully speaking out about United in the press. Since his retirement he has openly criticised the signings of Chris Smalling, Ahsley Young and Phil Jones as well as the management of Sir Alex Ferguson, his former boss.