Hodgson lauds Gary Neville’s credentials for England

Earlier this week the newly appointed-England manager Roy Hodgson had to make his first big decision, choosing his final 23-man squad for the European Championships this summer. Regardless of the names on Hodgson’s squad sheet, there was sure to be controversy amongst England fans. It was no surprise then that the exclusion of former England captain Rio Ferdinand had many fans and football pundits questioning the former West Brom boss’s choices.

One addition to the England squad that raised a few eyebrows was the appointment of Gary Neville to the coaching staff. Hodgson is clearly a fan of the former Manchester United defender and believes his current job as a Sky Sports football analyst will benefit the England squad.

Hodgson told BBC Sport: “He’s been someone who I have been very impressed with since he has joined Sky in terms of tactical and analytical ability and his knowledge of players.

Hodgson went on to say that Neville’s age was also a factor in his decision to bring him back into the England set up but under a different role: “I wanted someone who was a younger up-and-coming coach, someone who is starting off on his coaching career. But in particular I wanted someone who was able to give me the benefit of his experience of playing for England and being involved with England in international tournaments.

The experience Neville brings to the team is unquestionable, with 85 international caps to his name and 602 appearances for one of the most successful clubs in recent history, Manchester United. He has been there, done it and worn the shirt on many occasions. With five major international tournaments, Champions League finals and a modest eight Premier League winners medals, Neville knows what it takes to perform on the big stage.

His new role as a Sky Sports analyst has seen him watch and analyse many different games this season, from Premier League to Champions League to international fixtures. He will have seen the majority of England players perform in different kinds of competitions at close quarters.

The former United captain is also likely to bring passion and a will to win to the England camp. The fire he showed throughout his 19-year professional career made him a favourite amongst the red side of Manchester. Love him or hate him, few can deny Gary Neville has the one attribute that should be common in every footballer representing his country.

As a player Neville performed to a high standard and as an analyst he is earning rave reviews, but he is yet to show his skills as a coach. A UEFA trained coach at both A and B level shows he certainly knows his stuff when it comes to tactics and positional play. It will be interesting to see whether he adopts a hands-on approach when it comes to training and team selections, or whether that will be the role of Hodgson’s trusty experienced right hand man Ray Lewington.

One thing is certain – we are guaranteed to see Neville throw every effort into making England successful this summer and in years to come.

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