Gary Neville: Former Man Utd star appointed Valencia coach

    Story highlights

    • Spanish side Valencia appoint ex-Manchester United star Gary Neville
    • It is the England coach's first role as a manager
    • Neville won eight EPL titles and two Champions League crowns as a player

    (CNN)He's a former Manchester United great who has made a name for himself as one of Britain's most respected soccer pundits.

    But Gary Neville is quitting the bright lights of TV to take up his first ever head coach position -- at Spanish club Valencia.
      The 40-year-old will combine his new job with his role as part of Roy Hodgson's coaching set up with the England national team.
      Neville won eight English Premier League titles and two European Champions League crowns as a player, forging a dynamic partnership with David Beckham.
      After retiring from the game he took up a role with Sky Sports, analyzing Premier League matches as part of their live coverage. Sky said he will always be welcome back.
      Neville joins his brother Phil, also a former United player, at Valencia. The 38-year-old has been on the coaching staff under Nuno Espírito Santo, who resigned on November 30.
      The club is currently ninth in La Liga, having last won the league title in 2004. Neville's contract runs until the end of the current season.
      In a statement on the official club website Neville said: "I am absolutely thrilled to be given this opportunity with Valencia.
      "Valencia are a huge football club of immense standing and I know from my time as a player the passion and dedication of the Valencia fans.
      "I am really looking forward to working with the club's talented group of players and am excited about the challenge ahead."
      Neville will take charge of the team after it faces current Spanish champions Barcelona on Saturday. His first match will be against Lyon in the Champions League on December 9.
      The Nevilles are joint-owners of non-league English side Salford Town, along with other former United players Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt.
      Salford are half owned by Singaporean businessman and investor Peter Lim, who also owns Valencia.
      Valencia CF President Layhoon Chan said: "We are delighted to have secured Gary so quickly.
      "He combines top level coaching experience through his role as a senior coach with the England national team and a world class playing career with England and Manchester United.
      "Throughout his career Gary has always shown great leadership both on and off the pitch.
      "He is hugely respected in English football and it was his personal qualities which persuaded us that he was the right choice to lead Valencia until the end of the season."
      England coach Hodgson said he was delighted that Neville had decided to accept what he called an "excellent opportunity."
      "It's the right moment in time for him and I'm 100 per cent behind his decision to join Valencia as the new head coach," Hodgson said in a statement released by the Football Association.
      "As far as I'm concerned, this will be an extra string to his bow and the experience he will gain working in the Spanish league can only be beneficial to our work together with the England team.
      "Gary's commitment to The FA's preparations for Euro 2016 will not be in any way affected by the fact that he will be coaching abroad during the next five months.
      "As someone who has spent a large part of my coaching career working abroad, I salute his decision and hope he gains as much from his time in Spain as I have done from the various countries which I have worked.
      "Like the rest of the England coaching staff, Gary will be fully committed to preparing for the Euros in France and our friendly matches which begin in March against Germany and Holland."