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Neville had no coaching plans

Gary Neville has revealed he never had any plans to go into coaching with England so soon after retiring from playing.

Last Updated: 18/03/13 at 14:49 Post Comment

Gary Neville: Never had plans to coach so soon

Gary Neville: Never had plans to coach so soon

The former Manchester United player, his country's most-capped full-back with 85 appearances, is part of manager Roy Hodgson's coaching team.

Neville, who combines his role with England with that as a Sky Sports match analyst, had a distinguished playing career after replacing Paul Parker as first-choice full-back for Manchester United and England.

He went on to win eight Premier League titles, three FA Cups, one League Cup and two Champions Leagues at club level and made his England debut against Japan in the 'Umbro Cup' at Wembley in June 1995.

Neville's 85th and final international came against Spain in February 2007 after playing in five major tournaments, only missing the 2002 World Cup through injury, and making 11 appearances in European Championship finals.

The 38-year-old holds UEFA A and B Coaching Licences and was appointed by Hodgson to the staff in May last year, signing a four-year contract with The FA.

"It was no plan of mine to go into coaching," he said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph. "I was quite comfortable that I had stepped out of football and I didn't want to rush things - while not dismissing the fact that I did want to go back in eventually."

He admitted, though, the chance to be involved with England was what persuaded him to reassess in May last year.

"It's England, I loved playing for England, I love my country," he added. "Roy is a fantastic coach and when I watch him take a session he believes wholly in the ethic of coaching.

"He takes nearly all the sessions and I'm there to help and support the manager."

Neville, though, is taking nothing for granted with England and qualifying for next year's World Cup finals in Brazil, due to two upcoming tricky World Cup qualifiers in San Marino and Montenegro.

He added: "I was part of a team that didn't qualify for Euro 2008, the last time we didn't qualify, and that was painful, really painful. England believes and should believe that it will always be at tournaments.

"Qualification is in our hands but the idea that qualification for England is always simple is not true. In four tournaments that I got to it came down to the very last game or the play-offs.

"People say, 'Oh qualification is going to be tough', but I've never known it not to be tough; there are many tournaments when it's gone down to that last group game and this time is no different. It's going to be tough."

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