Roy Hodgson expects Gary Neville to relish the opportunity to take a break from managing Valencia and link up with England’s coaching staff.
Neville waited 10 games for his first Primera Division win after taking charge of Los Che and has nine victories from 26 games in all competitions ahead of Thursday night’s Europa League last-16 second leg with Athletic Bilbao.
The former Manchester United defender gave up his role as a television pundit to take on the job until the end of the season, but remains one of Hodgson’s assistants and will link up with England for the friendlies with Germany and Holland later this month.
“Gary’s confidence won’t be shaken by the fact he’s taken on a very difficult job,” Hodgson said at Wembley on Thursday.
“He was realistic and knows that in terms of coaching and managing, you are a prisoner to some extent of the material you find you’ve got to work with.
“It’s pretty obvious he took over a team that was under-performing, and that’s why the coach left.
“Unfortunately he’s taken over the players who continue to under-perform. But I don’t think it will affect his confidence in himself.
“I know he’s looking forward very much to coming back and teaming up with us again. I know he’s looking forward to working with the players, because I’m sure the quality of players we have, (they) are more than capable of carrying out the coaching instructions and the way we would like them to play.
“I’m hoping it will be a nice little break for him, if you like, from the fairly onerous task he’s taken on in leading a Valencia team whose expectations at the start of the season were so high that now they have no chance whatsoever of matching those expectations or living up to them.”