Gary Neville admits he was lined up for ‘biggest management role in England’ after disaster Valencia spell

This week, Neville swapped his traditional interviewer role to become an interviewee on his YouTube show The Overlap, courtesy of Sky Bet.

The Manchester United legend spoke about his trophy-laden 21-year career at Old Trafford, and opened up about his disastrous four-month spell managing La Liga side Valencia.

Neville, who at the time was also part of Roy Hodgson’s England coaching staff, was dismissed just 28 games into his first managerial role.

But the 49-year-old admitted that upon taking the Valencia job, then-FA director of elite development Dan Ashworth told him he was in line to replace Hodgson as England manager.

Neville explained: “I’ve never said this publicly, but I remember getting the Valencia job in December, and Dan Ashworth rang me and said this was the perfect move for me to be on that next step for when Roy Hodgson decided he wanted to leave the England job, for me to take over.

“I always remember that phone call and him saying this was the perfect opportunity, but I look back now, and it was right that I failed in the job because I didn’t put the work in.

“With how my work ethic is [required] now, I needed to fail to have that slap in the face moment, for me to get back to it, which is where I am now.”

Neville also admitted that he only took the Valencia job because he felt a sense of loyalty to owner Peter Lim.

He said: “I finished playing football at 36. I get two pieces of land in Manchester and some of the lads are willing to put in some of the money in with me, we get to about half of it and you need someone to believe in you to put in that extra money, otherwise you have to lose the land, you don’t build it.

“One of them was the hotel across the road from Old Trafford and the club at the time were saying I don’t think they will do it and we won’t get the money.

“Peter [Lim] believed in us, he put money into us and let us run the project. When someone puts money into you it’s a massive responsibility; if someone gives you their money it’s a massive responsibility to be able to look after it, to make sure it is used well and making sure you give them the money back.

“So, he gave me a start in my life in terms of business and naturally for people who have helped you, you would do something for them.

“He [Peter Lim] never asked me for anything, and he never has. He asked me one thing – would I go over for him? [to Valencia] I knew it wasn’t right, but how can I say no to him when he has believed in me?

“I loved Valencia by the way, the place, the weather, the city, honestly. There was no ultimatum, and he wasn’t pressurising me or anything like that. He said ‘Gary, I would really like you to do it for me.’ I felt like I owed him, and I think I did. I think it was the right thing to do for that reason, but wrong football reasons.”

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