LONDON – Former England and Manchester United defender Gary Neville is not targeting a long-term career in management and says he is “relaxed” about how long he stays at the helm of Spanish side Valencia.
The England assistant coach made a surprise move to Valencia last month to take up his first managerial post until the end of the season, but insists his future lies in other projects.
“I’m not going to say where I want to end up, and it isn’t in management or head coaching, so I want to be clear about that,” Neville, who has been linked as a possible replacement for under-fire Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal, told Sky Sports.
“That’s not my ultimate goal of where I want to be.”
Neville was juggling his England role with punditry work for Sky Sports and co-ownership of Salford City among other interests before moving to Valencia, where he confesses language problems during halftime team talks have been “the biggest frustration and challenge so far.
“From my point of view, I was really enjoying what I was doing, I really was, the multiple things I had on, even though I knew it was coming to a point where I had to make decisions at the end of this season,” added Neville.
“I think it is uncertain the amount of time I’ll be here but (even) if I got given a five-year contract I think it would be uncertain about the amount of time I’d be here. That’s why I’m relaxed.”
Neville, who is England’s most-capped right back with 85 caps, said the national side needed to go through the “pain” of failing at the last World Cup in order to improve.
The 40-year-old, who retired in 2011, believes manager Roy Hodgson deserves credit for having “completely transformed” the squad in recent years, lowering its average age from 28 to “24, 25.”
“People say, ‘Oh the World Cup was a bad result’ but what do you expect when you are transitioning from (Rio) Ferdinand, (John) Terry, (Ashley) Cole, (Frank) Lampard, (Steven) Gerrard … to a new group of players,” Neville told the Sunday Telegraph.
“There has to be some sort of pain along the way and I just feel the way he (Hodgson) managed that transition — and I am thinking of specific discussions I had with him with England as a coaching team — he’s proven to be right.”
England failed to get out of the group stages in Brazil in 2014 but goes into Euro 2016 with 10 wins out of 10 in qualification.
“The idea of saying ‘it has to semis, quarters,’ we’ve gone past that,” Neville added.
“We’ve had too many experiences of wild statements. I played in four tournaments (for England) with managers who said ‘we are going to win it’ and it was ‘rah, rah, rah wonderful.’ Let’s just think about doing the right things.”