Football/Soccer

Ranieri offers Neville a few Valencia hints

As Gary Neville was unofficially unveiled Valencia manager yesterday, some of the club’s former managers like Claudio Ranieri, pictured, and Quique Sanchez Flores have been quick to give their advice to the former Manchester United man

FORMER Valencia boss Claudio Ranieri believes Gary Neville can do something “fantastic” at the Primera Division club if he is able to combine “the English spirit” with possession football.

In his first role as a number one, Neville has been appointed as head coach until the end of the season at Los Che, who are currently ninth in the table.

Ranieri, currently manager of Barclays Premier League high-fliers Leicester, had two stints in charge of Valencia from 1997 to 1999 and 2004 to 2005.

And regarding Neville, the Italian told Sky Sports News: “I think he is a smart man with big knowledge behind him.

“It is important he understands Spanish football, because they want the team to have possession of the ball.

“If he can blend very well the English spirit with keeping possession of the ball, it will be fantastic.”

Neville’s former England and Manchester United team-mate Rio Ferdinand believes the 40-year-old will be primed for the top job at Old Trafford if his time at Valencia proves successful.

Ferdinand told the Sun: “If he is under pressure he will certainly feel it.

“But if he can go on a run the momentum will build and the fans can really carry the team.

“What you can be sure of is that the people at the top at Manchester United will be looking at what Gary does now and be interested to see how he gets on.

“If he does well, there is a very big chance that he will be wanted back at Old Trafford as manager at some point – and that he would be keen on going back as well, a local lad taking over his boyhood club.”

Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores, who both played for and managed Valencia, has stressed the key to Neville’s chances of succeeding will be his attributes as a manager, with the fact he has not been a part of a Spanish club before not necessarily important.

Flores, in charge at the Mestalla from 2005 to 2007, said: “It’s not about nationality. It’s about knowledge, it’s about the attitude and how you manage and lead.

“It’s possible to adapt. The culture is part of the world of football we’re living in.

“People go to work in other countries. Years ago people stayed in their country and never moved – it is completely different. Everyone is moving.”

Newcastle boss Steve McClaren enjoyed success in his first overseas job, guiding FC Twente to the Dutch title.

He believes the fact Neville’s brother Phil has been coaching at Valencia since the summer will be a major help to what is a vital process of adaptation.

McClaren said: “You have to adapt quickly and I think he has an advantage in that Phil has been there, so that might fast-track things a little better.

“The language can be a problem and I think it is a very tough job to take, but I know Gary very well and he has all the qualities to be a top manager.”

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, formerly a player and coach in Spain with Espanyol, also thinks Neville has taken on a tough task, but sees him as “capable”.

The Argentinian said: “It is a difficult job to take Valencia now. But he is capable of managing Valencia. I wish him all the best for what is a difficult job.

“It is always difficult to arrive in a new country – for me it was, arriving at Southampton. But he is capable – he is very clever.”

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