Gary Neville has been made the new manager of Valencia CF, and there have been a number of key moments which have led him to this point in his career. This article will start from the very beginning of his career and examine what happened between then and now.
Gary Neville: From Manchester to the Mestalla
Winning the 1992 FA Youth Cup
Captain of the famous “class of ’92”, Neville led Manchester United to a 6-3 aggregate win over Crystal Palace in the 1992 FA Youth Cup final. This would provide the launch pad for the glittering careers of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Neville himself. Three years after his brother lifted the trophy as captain, Gary’s new assistant at Valencia, Phil, won the trophy himself.
Manchester United Debut
Four months after securing the FA Youth Cup, Neville made his debut for the senior side in the UEFA Cup. Coming on as a substitute for Lee Martin against Torpedo Moscow, Neville made the first of 602 appearances for Manchester United in a career that spanned 19 years. It would be his only appearance for United in the 1992/93 season and it would not be until 1994/95 that he would establish himself as a first team regular.
After breaking into the Manchester United side Neville’s good form was rewarded with a call up to the England squad by manager Terry Venables, earning his first cap with a start against Japan in the Umbro Cup in 1995. Quickly making the right back position his own Neville went on to win 85 caps, competing in the 1996, 2000, and 2004 European Championships as well as the 1998 and 2006 World Cups. He missed out on the 2002 World Cup through injury.
Manchester United Captain
In 2005, after the departure of Roy Keane, Neville was made club captain of Manchester United. Already with 15 major honours under his belt as a Manchester United player, United secured a further four Premier League titles, the UEFA Champions League, three League Cups and the FIFA World Club Cup during his tenure as club captain.
After injuries plagued his final few seasons at Manchester United, Neville retired in 2011 and was given a farewell with a testimonial against Juventus where he was joined by fellow Class of ’92 graduates David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes as well as his brother Phil. After leaving Manchester United, Neville joined Sky Sports as a pundit on Sky’s Monday Night Football and has established himself as one of the top pundits on television.
In 2014, in partnership with Giggs, Butt, Scholes and his brother, Gary agreed a deal to buy Salford City FC with the aim of getting the club promoted to the Football League. Salford gained promotion in their first season of ownership, winning the Northern Premier League Division One North.
England Assistant Manager
In 2012 new England manager Roy Hodgson named Neville as his assistant manager ahead of the 2012 European Championships to be held in Poland and Ukraine. Neville has remained in the position ever since, assisting Hodgson in the 2014 World Cup campaign and through qualification for the 2016 European Championships. Neville’s new role at Valencia will not impact his England role and he will continue to assist Roy Hodgson.
Gary Neville has had an outstanding career as a player. Playing for Manchester United for over 20 years winning everything from the F.A. Youth Cup to the UEFA Champions League and representing England for over a decade, he established himself as one of the world’s best right backs. After retiring he has forged a successful media career and taken his first steps into the world of coaching. As he takes the reigns at one of Europe’s top clubs he will look to translate his success to the dugout and lead Valencia to success both in La Liga and Europe.