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.”