Gary Neville "has all the qualities required" to be a successful manager at Valencia, according to former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson. The ex-England international was surprisingly unveiled as the new head coach of the Spanish club until the end of the season on 2 December.
Neville will officially take charge at the Mestalla on 6 December. He will be assisted by his younger brother Phil, who was appointed as assistant coach at the club in July.
Ferguson managed Neville through his entire playing career at United and spoke glowingly of the leadership qualities of his former protégé. "I think Gary has all the qualities required to be a success. He's not afraid to make decisions. He knows his own mind," Ferguson told the Daily Mirror.
"Leadership matters, whatever industry you're in — some people are leaders, some aren't. Gary has that ability to lead and, most importantly, he won't be afraid of the challenge he's taking on."
Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague told Sky Sports that it was an "extraordinarily brave" decision by Valencia to appoint Neville, who is stepping into his first managerial role. "Valencia is a very particular club. At the beginning of the season they expect to win the league and be at the level of Barcelona and Real Madrid even though financially they are not there and the quality of players are not there," he said.
"But they feel they can be there, which means the demands on the coach are so huge. It is probably the most demanding place in the world and they didn't even have patience with Unai Emery, who for three years in a row got them third in the league. That didn't feel good enough for them so he was sacked," Balague added.
Neville's first match in charge of the La Liga side is a pivotal Champions League group clash against Lyon at the Mestalla on 9 December.