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Neville backed to be next England boss

ESPN staff
June 24, 2014
Is it time for Hodgson to call it quits

Roy Hodgson has backed Gary Neville to one day replace him as England boss - but claims the former Manchester United defender must not be rushed into management.

Hodgson's job was under threat following defeats to Italy and Uruguay that saw England eliminated from the World Cup, with Neville an outside bet to replace the 66-year-old.

But FA chief Greg Dyke was quick to declare Hodgson's job is safe, meaning Neville will carry on his role as an England coach.

A Death in Brazil

Tuesday's back page © The Sun
  • Greg Dyke was accused of another PR blunder on Monday when The Sun snapped the FA chairman reading a book called A Death In Brazil during England training.
  • Dyke, criticised for a throat-slitting gesture when England were announced in the same group as Italy and Uruguay in December, was snapped reading the book, which features massacres, genocides, cannibalism and gratuitous sex scenes, during England training ahead of the final game with Costa Rica.

And when asked if Neville could one day be an England manager, Hodgson said: "Of course he can be.

"But it would be wrong to start putting him under pressure to suggest he needs to get down to some work in a club side because the England manager's job is there waiting for him.

"When the job comes up again, who knows what candidates there will be?"

Neville's critically-acclaimed analysis for Sky Sports has been questioned by some - particularly given with how closely he works with many of the players. But Hodgson is adamant Neville must continue in as many roles as he can within the game, claiming "a long career in football gets harder and harder".

He added: "The number of jobs available vis-a-vis the amount of time people spend in those jobs gets less and less, so I certainly wouldn't advise him necessarily to jump at the first opportunity to do coaching or management.

"The longer he can combine the two roles [coaching and punditry] the better.

"But I don't have any doubt in my mind that he will become a top-class football coach and top-class manager."

Michael Owen, the former England and Liverpool striker, also believes Neville should be groomed to take over from Hodgson in two years' time.

He played with the former defender for their country and has tired of the calls for big-name managers to run the national team.

"If the Football Association is planning beyond the end of Hodgson's current contract in 2016, they should look no further than the man sitting alongside him as the next England manager. Gary Neville," Owen wrote in his column for The Daily Telegraph.

"The aftermath of a disappointing tournament brings with it the usual wish list of the unrealistic, undesirable or unobtainable managers who, it is presumed, could have made the England team perform much better at the World Cup.

"Rather than starting afresh every time a coach leaves the job, there is an opportunity for the FA to ensure the youngsters in the squad truly learn and benefit from their experience in Brazil. I do not buy the idea that lack of management experience would hinder Neville, because there is no comparison between managing your country and a Premier League club.

"It would be a risk, but the so-called 'safe pair of hands' we' have gone for over the last 20 years have hardly brought success. There are moments when you should trust your gut instinct that a former player has the knowledge, the respect, the aura and the natural leadership skills to do the job. Neville has these qualities."

Despite becoming the first England team to crash out of a World Cup at the group stage since 1958, Hodgson remains confident his young squad will come good at a major tournament while suggesting long-term planning and patience at the FA could be the key.

"I've realised that, at this top level in a World Cup, it is unbelievably unforgiving," he said.

"A moment of misfortune can throw everyone into a realm of despair that you didn't know was possible. I've learned how painful it is to build up your hopes and to see a lot of good preparations be of no avail because it didn't get us to where we wanted.

"We just hope the next two, four, six years will bring some dividends. We are no longer capable of going through, but we're trying to build the confidence and use the potential of some quite talented players who have emerged on the scene.

"All we can do is hope that, when these players are reaching their best years at the age of 28 or 29, the work shows some dividends."

Gary Neville has worked in the England coaching setup since Roy Hodgson became manager © PA Photos
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