Friday 20 April 2018

'He should never have left Sky Sports' - John Giles on Gary Neville's disastrous tenure as Valencia manager

Valencia's head coach Gary Neville
Valencia's head coach Gary Neville

Tom Rooney

John Giles believes that Gary Neville’s reign as Valencia manager has failed to ignite because the former Manchester United defender is not fully focused on the task at hand.

With Valencia yet to record a victory in La Liga since Neville took over at the beginning of December, the 40-year-old’s position was already under considerable pressure prior to last night’s 7-0 trouncing by Barcelona in the first-leg semi-final of the Copa Del Rey.

After such a humiliation, Neville was called on to resign and apologise by former Valencia goalkeeper Santiago Canizares, and then faced an angry protest from supporters when taking a training session with the squad today. Neville, however, has vowed not to step down from his post and Valencia are in 12th in La Liga and travel to faltering Real Betis on Sunday for what is surely a must-win game for the ex-Manchester United skipper.

Neville has acquired a stellar reputation as one the most insightful pundits on television for his work with Sky Sports and Giles reckons he should have continued to follow that professional path.

Furthermore, the Leeds United legend said that signing such a short term deal with the club was only ever going to yield failure.

“I don’t think he should have left (Sky Sports) in the first place,” he told Ger Gilroy on Newstalk’s Off the Ball. “If you’re going into management, you go into management. I think he’s been dipping his toe in management; a six month contract.

“He couldn’t be committed for six months. If you see any managers going into the game, they’re signing two and three-year contracts because they’re committed to what they’re doing.”

Apart form his role with Valencia, where he is assisted by brother Phil, Neville is also a coach for the English national team, a part owner of Salford City with his fellow Manchester United Class of ’92 graduates, as well as pursuing a number of business ventures.

Giles claimed that publicly having so many irons in the fire may have undermined his position within the Valencia set up and, ultimately, Neville may have irreparably damaged his reputation as a coach and pundit.

“He’s still involved with the England team, and he said that he’d be there for the Euros. Like, say he was staying on in Valencia; sometimes the most important part of the year is recruiting the players. You can’t split yourself up in that many parts, I think he’s playing at it, that’s my opinion.

“I would think he was trying to fill too many boxes for his own good, instead being committed to the job of Valencia. And I think the players have turned on him and the results haven’t been good. If he was going to go to Valencia, he’d have to go – lock, stock and barrel.

“I think his plans have gone out the window with the results that he’s had, and I don’t think he’s done his punditry career any good.”

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