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Gary Neville exclusive: Former England coach hopes new young managers can help fill midfield void

Gary Neville talks exclusively to Sporting Life
Gary Neville talks exclusively to Sporting Life

Gary Neville hopes having John Terry joining the likes of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard moving into coaching will help finding that missing ingredient in English football.

England facing Croatia conjures up memories of the World Cup semi-final when Luka Modric helped dump the Three Lions out of the tournament in Russia.

Modric is considered by some to be exactly the type of player missing from English football at the moment, with the lack of a controlling midfielder a major gap in the pool of players available to Gareth Southgate.

The former England coach told Sporting Life that having high-profile players moving into management could help improve this area if they can translate their experience of playing at the highest level against the best players to young England stars.

“We had Paul Scholes once, and the thing he could do that nobody else could was to control the tempo, and that’s what great international sides have in their midfield,” said the former Manchester United captain.

“There is hope though - John Terry’s started to coach, my brother’s coaching and there’s Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Michael Carrick – all these ex-players are moving into coaching and I hope that through their experiences of playing with the best players in the world and against the best teams that they’re able to produce or coach these types of players over the next few years and England can get the benefit of it.

“John Terry was a great leader on the pitch and the great challenge for great leaders on the pitch is to have the ability to show the patience you require when you’re dealing with players, that’s the one thing I learned from four years working with Roy Hodgson and England is the incredible amount of patience you need as a coach.”

Actual coaching only part of the job

The former England coach believes only a small percentage of management is concerned with matters on the training field, and that is the major hurdle new young coaches have to deal with.

“It’s not just about football, it’s about the off-the-pitch work, the media commitments, the commercial commitments, dealing with players who aren’t feeling the best or have troubles. Eighty per cent of coaching is not actually coaching, it’s dealing with the individuals and how you work with them.

“So John’s challenge now is to adapt from being a great leader on the pitch who had high demands of everyone around him to be able to cope with the imperfections in players and being able to show a level of tolerance and accepting of them. Those are the things I found difficult, especially at Valencia.

“That four months was a massive learning curve for me in terms of acceptance and tolerance and challenges - in some ways I look back at that as the biggest four months of my life in terms of learning.

“John’s got to go through that now as all young coaches have to.”

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Most Read Football

Our best bets for the Champions League1

Wednesday's Champions League tips

The final matches of the 2018/19 Champions League group stages take place on Wednesday evening. George Pitts has four best bets.

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Football Tips

Our best bets for the Champions League

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