HomeFeatured ArticlesGary Neville: The England Manager Job That Almost Was

Gary Neville: The England Manager Job That Almost Was

Gary Neville on the Brink of the England Managerial Role

Neville’s Potential Path to England’s Helm

While reflecting on his coaching career during an episode of the “Stick to Football Podcast,” Gary Neville revealed a significant but lesser-known chapter about his managerial journey. Before his challenging stint at Valencia, Neville was primed by the Football Association (FA) as a potential successor to Roy Hodgson for the England national team. “I’ve never said this publicly, but I remember getting the Valencia job in December, and Dan Ashworth rang me and said this was the perfect move for me to be on that next step for when Roy Hodgson decided he wanted to leave the England job, for me to take over,” Neville disclosed.

Lessons from Valencia: A Crucial Turning Point

Neville’s tenure at Valencia is widely remembered for its difficulties, with the former Manchester United defender managing only three wins in 16 league games before his dismissal. Reflecting on this period, Neville acknowledges the importance of this failure in his career trajectory. “It was right that I failed in the job because I didn’t put the work in. With how my work ethic is now, I needed to fail to have that slap in the face moment for me to get back to it, which is where I am now,” he explained. This experience, though harsh, served as a pivotal learning curve, impacting his professional ethos profoundly.

Declining Coaching to Focus on Business and Media

Post-Valencia, despite his high profile and the lessons learned, Neville opted to steer clear of a coaching career. He was approached by several clubs, including Middlesbrough, Newcastle, and Derby, but chose to decline these opportunities to focus on his burgeoning business and media interests. “I’ve been asked by Middlesbrough for an interview, Newcastle and Derby asked to speak to me, all in the previous three years I had been on Sky, and I said no to every offer because it wasn’t what I wanted to be,” he stated, highlighting his shift in career focus towards entrepreneurship and punditry.

The Road Not Taken

This candid reveal from Neville sheds light on what might have been a significant shift in the landscape of English football and underscores the personal growth and strategic decisions that define his post-playing career. As Neville continues to shape his path in the football world, his insights remind him of the myriad ways former players can impact the sport outside the traditional realms of management.

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