Ex-Man United defender Gary Neville excelling in England coaching role

Sharethematch.com looks at Roy Hodgson's decision to bring in ex-Manchester United defender Gary Neville as England coach

gary neville
Roy Hodgson brought Gary Neville into his coaching team in May Photo: Atilathehun

gary neville

Neville proving Capello was wrong

From defending his box on the pitch to jumping out of the one on the touchline, England’s new coach Gary Neville is proving a hit at Euro 2012.

The former Manchester United right-back has got right in to encouraging the England players with refreshing passion never witnessed under Fabio Capello’s Three Lions reign.

Capello installed David Beckham as England’s guru at the 2010 World Cup, but he lacks the tactical nuance Neville provides.

The defender proved all last season through his punditry that beneath the national fervour lies a strategist brimming with potential. He intends to become a manager one day.

Who knows, in another 10 or 15 years, Neville may have been promoted to the number one position.

But at the moment, he is doing a fine job as the number two. Training is far more relaxed as Neville has taken a far more prominent role than previous national coaches. He liaises with each player personally, offering a wealth of experience and know-how.

Two years ago the players were stifled under the tyrannical rule of Capello. They wanted to explore the Rainbow Nation, but were caged in their colourless hotels.

England appear revived at this tournament, and credit must not only go to manager Roy Hodgson, but also to Neville.

“In the breaks in the sessions he will talk to the players,’’ James Milner said just before Euro 2012. “Maybe after the phase of play that has just gone he will approach a player and say, ‘You could have tucked in a bit more’.’’

He is a mood-setting presence and has agreed to tackle the fear factor that bedevilled previous squads. So far, he has done an excellent job.

Ronaldo genius masks Portugal flaws

Portugal became the first team to reach the Euro 2012 semi-finals on Thursday when they saw off the Czech Republic 1-0.

The scoreline may suggest it was a close game but in truth it was one of the most one-sided of the tournament so far, with the majority of the match played in the Czech Republic half.

The Czechs looked content with sitting back and very rarely showed much going forward as Milan Baros struck an isolated figure upfront.

But despite seeing a lot of the ball, Portugal still didn’t look too dangerous – João Moutinho, Miguel Veloso, Nani and Raul Meireles are all decent players but none of them would be described as world class, and they certainly will fail to worry Spain or France.

Up front, the average Helder Postiga went off injured and was replaced by the even more average Hugo Almeida.

But Portugal do have a lethal weapon in Cristiano Ronaldo, their captain, leader and inspiration who was again in exhilarating form against the Czechs.

Just like when he gunned down the Netherlands, Ronaldo was everywhere – he was hungry and determined to win the game for his side, almost single-handedly at times.

He showed pace, skill and leadership, and twice hit the woodwork before eventually scoring the winner with a superb diving header that beat Petr Cech all ends up.

With it, he spared Portugal the lottery that is extra-time and possibly penalties, and with the Czech Republic comfortable to sit back and counter, who knows if they could have nicked one on the break?

Ronaldo’s heroics however overshadowed the fact that Portugal are an average national team at best who are lucky enough to possess a world class forward.

To beat Portugal, France or Spain will just have to stop Ronaldo playing – easier said than done, of course.

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