Gary Neville will not be “calling the shots” when he starts work alongside new England manager Roy Hodgson on the training pitch tomorrow, according to former team-mate Roy Keane.
Ex-Manchester United defender Neville has become part of Hodgson’s backroom staff ahead of Euro 2012, penning a four-year deal.
The 37-year-old, capped 85 times for England, became the Red Devils skipper following Keane’s departure from Old Trafford in 2005, going on to lift the Premier League twice.
Neville has divided opinion in his role as media pundit for Sky Sports, drawing criticism for some forthright views – including claiming Chelsea defender David Luiz had played like he was controlled by “a 10-year-old on a PlayStation”.
Keane, 40, feels his old team-mate will take to a coaching role, but on very much of a steep learning curve.
“It is important you are yourself. Gary can talk bit, but don’t think for one minute he was as influential in the dressing room as people might think he was,” said former Republic of Ireland midfielder Keane, who will be part of ITV Sport’s media team at Euro 2012.
“Gary would say his piece, but he wasn’t running the show far, from it so don’t think for one minute he will be going into England and calling the shots.
“He will be learning his trade and being a link between the manager and the players and I think he will be good at that.”
Keane added: “It is a good appointment, but let’s see how it pans out.
“Just like with anyone who is appointed to any job, only time will tell.
“He has not done any coaching before, I know he has done his coaching qualifications, but sitting in a studio talking about teams is very different. ”There is no point building them up too much and there is no point knocking them either. Give the man a chance.“
Keane believes Neville could find it difficult juggling roles on and off the pitch.
“I am surprised he has kept his role with doing TV, that can be difficult,” said the former Sunderland and Ipswich manager.
“You can get your way around criticising players by saying: ’I would expect the player to do better’.
“He probably won’t be as critical as me and speak in the terms I do. I know Gareth does it, but he’s not on the dressing room, he’s not on the training pitch, he’s not working with the players.
“Hopefully he will do well. Gary is a decent guy and he has played at a decent level, but that doesn’t guarantee you success.”
Former England midfielder Gareth Southgate will also be on the ITV panel at Euro 2012.
The 41-year-old is currently the Football Association’s head of elite development, working alongside Sir Trevor Brooking at the new St George’s Park hub.
Southgate, who had a spell as Middlesbrough manager from 2006 to 2009, believes a delicate balance between criticism and analysis is needed when working in the media.
He said: “You are conscious that people would like to see you fall over so you’ve got a responsibility whenever you talk on television. It is easy to have an opinion without responsibility.
“It is similar to coaching. When mistakes happen you’d call your players in talk through it and highlight what went wrong. You wouldn’t necessarily crucify them for doing that.
“You are trying to explain what has happened and how you could improve and what they could do differently and try to keep their confidence at the same time.”
Southgate – who famously missed a penalty in the Euro ’96 shoot-out defeat to Germany at Wembley – added: “I don’t find it a problem, if ITV wanted someone to come on and did a hatchet job on people then fine, but there is no point in bringing in me.
“I know how hard it is to play and especially how hard it is to manage.”