Gary Neville has been named new Valencia coach this week following the resignation of Nuno Santo after the 1-0 defeat at Sevilla last Sunday away at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán. The former Manchester United defender teams up with his brother Phil who has been on the coaching staff at the club since July of this year.
The game in Mestalla on Saturday against Barça will be Gary’s first since being handed the job by Valencia owner, the Singaporean businessman Peter Lim, however, the only Neville on the bench will his brother Phil, alongside caretaker boss Salvador González Marco ‘Voro’ who was in charge for the team’s 3-1 away win on Wednesday at lower league Barakaldo in the first leg of their last 32 Copa del Rey tie.
Gary, the older of the two famous footballing brothers, explained in his unveiling on Thursday as Valencia coach that he did not feel comfortable sitting on the bench for the visit of Luis Enrique’s team on Saturday, adding that it would be ‘unfair’ of him to pick the team having spent so little time with the squad before the clash against the league leaders.
The post at los che is Neville’s first as a head coach, although he has been part of the coaching set for the England national team since 2012 under Roy Hodgson and has also been a highly successful media pundit in the United Kingdom in recent years.
The epitome of a one man club, Gary Neville made 400 appearances for Manchester United between 1992 and his retirement in 2011. During his time as a player he won eight Premier League titles, the FA Cup three times, the Champions League twice and the FIFA World Club Cup once.
Neville faced FC Barcelona twice in his career as a player, both games coming in the group stages of the 1998/99 Champions League. The defender came up against current Barça boss Luis Enrique in the game at Old Trafford which ended in a 3-3 draw. Bizarrely enough, the return game at also ended in a 3-3 draw with United eventually going on to win the competition with a famous victory over Bayern Munich at Camp Nou.