Valencia Hires Gary Neville As Coach; Pundit Leaves Sky Sports For La Liga

We’ll soon learn whether Gary Neville can coach as well as most think he can.

Valencia announced on its website Wednesday it has appointed Neville as its head coach. Neville joins the Spanish club on a short-term contract, which expires after the 2015-16 season.

The Valencia coach’s job will be Neville’s first in club soccer. Recent reports have linked him with several clubs in England, but he’ll first test his managerial mettle abroad.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be given this opportunity with Valencia,” Neville told ValenciaCF.com. “Valencia are a huge football club of immense standing, and I know from my time as a player the passion and dedication of the Valencia fans.

“I am really looking forward to working with the club’s talented group of players and am excited about the challenge ahead.”

Neville leaves Sky Sports with immediate effect. He joined the British broadcaster in 2011 after retiring as a player and since has become one of the world’s premier English-language analysts.

However, he’ll continue in his current role as an assistant to England national team manager Roy Hodgson.

Nuno Espirito Santo resigned as Valencia’s coach Sunday following its La Liga (Spanish first division) loss to Sevilla. Valencia owner Peter Lim, who has business ties with Neville, quickly moved to hire the former Manchester United and England defender.

Neville’s younger brother Phil, 38, was one of Nuno’s assistants. He’ll be part of his older brother’s staff.

Valencia currently sits ninth in the La Liga standings with 19 points after 13 games. Valencia also can progress out of Group H in the UEFA Champions League if it defeats Lyon on Dec. 9 and Zenit St. Petersburg beats Gent in the group’s other game.

Valencia will unveil Neville to the press Thursday. He’ll watch Valencia play Barcelona on Saturday from the stands at the Mestalla Stadium before officially taking charge Sunday.

Neville will debut on the sidelines at the Mestalla next week against Lyon. That’s when showtime at Valencia truly will begin.

Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@CNN

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