Neville: Valencia Job Is Not A PR Stunt

The coach has laughed off reports in Spain that his role at the Mestalla is part of an elaborate plot to dilute the perceived influence of agent Jorge Mendes at the club

Gary Neville has branded a report claiming his appointment at Valencia was a PR stunt as “ludicrous” and a “fantasy story”.

The former Manchester United defender was named the surprise successor to Nuno Espirito Santo in December, having worked as a TV punding and coach for England since his retirement.

A newspaper in Spain claimed Valencia owner Peter Lim told agent Jorge Mendes to find a coach the Portuguese didn’t represent to dispel suggestions he had too much influence at the club.

But Neville, who has already revealed he has no interest in staying in football management beyond his current job, is adamant this is not the case.

“I’ve never heard anything so ludicrous in my lie,” he said at a press conference. “It’s a fantasy story with absolutely no truth whatsoever.

“I don’t really know what to say, to be honest with you. It’s just nonsense.

“In England I would use a swear word, but I’m not quite sure the translator will be able to get it in the correct context.

Neville also touched on Madrid’s sacking of Rafael Benitez, just a day after the club drew 2-2 against his side, admitting he was disappointed to hear the news.

“Having been in the media of football and broadcasting for the last four-and-a-half years, I’m never surprised by anything I see in respect of managers losing their jobs.

“It’s never something I wanted when I wasn’t a coach, and it’s not something I want to see when I am a coach.

“But I’m not surprised by anything I see in football any more. The average tenure of manager and coach is getting shorter, unfortunately, but we have to accept it.”

Zinedine Zidane has replaced the outgoing Spaniard, despite having no first-team coaching experience, which Neville believes is similar to his own situation.

“I did not shy away from fact I had not coached before as a head coach. It is a very difficult job,” he said. “Everybody has to coach their first game once: even the more experienced coaches did that.

“The idea there is a perfect, template coach does not exist. Experienced coaches fail, young coaches succeed, and vice-versa. Everybody needs an opportunity, like I got here.”

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