Roy Hodgson believes Manchester United ambassador Gary Neville could one day manage England, though the current Three Lions boss has urged his understudy not to rush into management.
Since retiring as a player in 2011, Treble-winner Neville has earned widespread praise for his ground-breaking analysis of matches on television and was hired as Hodgson’s assistant ahead of the 2012 European Championship in Poland and Ukraine.
While the current international set-up has hardly covered itself in glory at this summer’s World Cup in Brazil, where England have failed to reach the knockout stages, Neville is widely viewed as a long-term candidate for the manager’s position.
When quizzed on the prospect ahead of facing Costa Rica, Hodgson was supportive, while offering advice: “The first thing I’d say to him is don’t be in too much of a rush to do anything. Having a long career in football gets harder and harder. The number of jobs available, vis-a-vis the amount of time people spend in those jobs, gets less and less, so I certainly wouldn’t advise him to jump at the first opportunity to do coaching or management.
“The longer he can combine the two roles, the better. He’s learning a lot in the environment with us, working with more experienced coaches and top players, and that’s beneficial to him. He’s doing a very good job on the TV. So my advice to him would be: Keep it going for as long as you feel you want to keep it going.
“But I don’t have any doubt that he will become a top-class football coach and manager. It’s just a question of when he decides to leave the punditry behind and go in to the job of working with players. He likes working with players and he’s good at it.”