Valencia: Gary Neville quits Sky gig to manage in Champions League

The only coaching experience of Gary Neville has come as a member of Roy Hodgson's England staff
Gary Neville's only coaching experience has come as a member of Roy Hodgson's England staff

In one of the most shocking football stories of the year, Valencia have hired Gary Neville as coach until the end of the season. Michael Lintorn looks at the task ahead, and rounds up a host of Betfair Special markets...

"Neville will be gifted the chance to experience his Champions League dugout debut a week on from his appointment when Valencia host Lyon next Wednesday, but the outcome of that evening's action will determine whether it is a one-night-only arrangement."

Within 24 hours of being linked with his first managerial job at Fulham, Gary Neville has indeed been given the opportunity to launch his coaching career, only instead of mid-table in the Championship, he will be starting in La Liga and the Champions League with Spanish giants Valencia.

Presumably benefitting from his existing relationship with Valencia owner Peter Lim, who is a fellow investor in Salford City, the former Manchester United defender has been recruited as head coach on a deal until the end of the season. His brother Phil Neville is already on the staff and had been serving as co-caretaker.

Los Che were excellent in 2014/15, returning to the top four after a two-year absence and doing so by equalling the points total (77) which won them the title in 2003/04. However, a struggle to build on that progress either domestically or in Europe led the architect of that success, Nuno Santo, to resign following Sunday's defeat to Sevilla.

Their situation is far from desperate though, with Neville having plenty to work with both in terms of the squad and position he inherits. The gap to fourth place is an eminently salvageable five points, despite attractive odds of 7.06/1 suggesting that it will be difficult.

Helpfully, the teams making the running are the likes of Celta Vigo and Deportivo, who haven't challenged in recent campaigns and therefore have to prove their durability, rather than regular sparring partners Sevilla, who remain a point behind them.

Neville will also be gifted the chance to experience his Champions League dugout debut a week on from his appointment when Valencia host Lyon next Wednesday, but the outcome of that evening's action will determine whether it is a one-night-only arrangement.

The Spaniards are third in Group H, a point adrift of Gent - who hold the head-to-head advantage too - so their sole route to the knockout stage is to beat Lyon and hope that the Belgians aren't victorious at home to Zenit St Petersburg, who have yet to drop a point. They are 2.35/4 to qualify.

Before that, Valencia welcome La Liga leaders Barcelona to Mestalla on Saturday, though the man described by the club website as "one of the most charismatic footballers in the history of England" has opted to leave that one to his brother. With the treble winners triumphing in nine successive league or European games, Los Che are understandably 9.617/2 outsiders.

Who replaces Neville in the MNF hotseat?

Latest Betfair odds

Paul Scholes 3/1
Thierry Henry 3/1
Jamie Redknapp 6/1
Frank Lampard 8/1
Rio Ferdinand 8/1
Steven Gerrard 10/1
Glenn Hoddle 12/1
Roy Keane 16/1
Jermaine Jenas 20/1
Brendan Rodgers 20/1
David Moyes 20/1
Robbie Savage 25/1
Harry Redknapp 25/1
Peter Schmeichel 25/1

Gary Neville Specials

Latest Betfair Odds

Valencia to meet Man Utd in the Europa League 20/1
Salford to go further in the FA Cup than Valencia in the Copa del Rey 20/1
(Antonio) Valencia to sign for Valencia 25/1
Valencia to meet Utd in UCL knockout stages 10/1
Carragher to be announced as defensive coach 16/1
Phil to replace Gary as Hodgson's No.2 5/1
Ed Chamberlain to join Valencia 100/1
Scholes to make comeback for Valencia 250/1
Any of Salford's players to be signed by Valencia 100/1
Salford to sign Negredo on loan 100/1
Valencia to win a trophy 16/1
Valencia to sign any Liverpool player 16/1

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