'I think it's a step too far' - Didi Hamann 'stunned' Gary Neville took up Valencia role
RTÉ soccer analyst Didi Hamann believes Gary Neville has taken a huge risk by giving up his media duties to take over at Valencia and says his reputation could be irrevocably damaged if results don't go his way.
The widely respected Sky Sports pundit relinquished his role with the broadcaster to join brother Phil in La Liga where he has signed a contract until the end of the season.
Neville will remain in his role as assistant to Roy Hodgson in the England set-up, but got his managerial career off to a disappointing start last night as Valencia exited the Champions League after a 2-0 defeat to Lyon.
Speaking on RTÉ's Champions League coverage last night, Hamann admitted he was shocked with the news last week.
"I was stunned he took the job," he told viewers.
“To take his first job in a foreign country where you don't speak the language, you don't know the club, you don’t know the league ... I think it's a step too far," said Hamann.
"He was working in the media, he did a good job there, he was assistant to Roy Hodgson…I couldn't understand it at all."
Neville has close ties with Valencia owner Peter Lim – the Singapore businessman has heavily backed Salford City FC, the Manchester club owned by Neville, his brother Phil, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and Ryan Gigg – and Hamann contends that history shows helping a friend out in such circumstances is a dangerous game.
"I don’t think he got that job on reputation. It's a completely different ball game. If you are a good pundit it doesn't mean you are a good manager.
"To take up these jobs when you want to do a friend a favour…very rarely do they go right. This is why I think it will be very tough for him.
"If things don't go well for him over the next six months, I believe a lot less people will be interested in him than they would be otherwise."