Why Gary Neville is a good appointment for England
The news that Gary Neville has been appointed as part of the England coaching team has been seen as shrewd move by Roy Hodgson, who is hoping that the former Manchester United defender and current Sky Sports presenter can act as a link between old and new in the Three Lions squad.
The one-club man will certainly bring a huge wealth of experience with him. After his international debut in 1995 he was first-choice right-back for club and country for more than ten years, winning eight Premier League titles, three FA Cups, two League Cups, a Champions League trophy and the Fifa World Club Cup.
And his experience at winning at the top level of the game will be invaluable for the Three Lions, who have become used to failure on the international stage in recent years. Neville's input in this respect will be vital with Hodgson himself lacking this level of experience on his managerial CV, and the retired defender will be able to advise on how to handle the weight of huge expectation, something that the former defender will have become used to in the spotlight of the Theatre of Dreams.
Hodgson will hope that Neville can bring some of his famous winning mentality to the Three Lions squad, something that he was reknown for playing for the Red Devils.
On Neville's retirement last year, his fomer manager Alex Ferguson hailed his loyal player, saying: “A fantastic, incredible man. He came to us a 13-year-old boy, an avid United fan and he remained that way all his life.
“He made a great career out of fantastic will and determination to be the best. He is an absolute legend at our club and will remain so for the rest of his life."
And it this winning mentality that England need. He was part of Ferguson's great "Class Of 92", United's FA Youth Cup-winning side that also produced David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt.
At Old Trafford he was worshipped as the embodiment of Ferguson's philosophy - Manchester United against the world and give rivals not a shred of mercy.
Neville’s capacity will not, presumably, be picking the team even though he has obtained the UEFA A and B licences and he should therefore operate in a more advisory capacity. And it is clear that talking sense is something with which he is comfortable.
Since making his debut on Sky Sports at the start of the 2011-12 season, Gary Neville has established himself as one of the most engaging, fascinating football broadcasters around, which is why his signing of a four-year contract with the FA makes total sense both in sporting and PR terms for Hodgson’s new era.
Even though Redknapp was seen as the media’s chosen candidate for the England job, getting the popular Neville on side is a shrewd counter to this.
Neville - who represented England at five major tournaments spanning Euro 96 and the 2006 World Cup - joins goalkeeping coach Dave Watson and coach Ray Lewington in joining Hodgson's team.