The ex-Manchester United star is working alongside a former team-mate in America, but claims that post was secured on merit
Phil Neville says his appointment as Inter Miami manager was no gift from former Manchester United team-mate David Beckham, with the ex-England Women’s boss adamant that he landed a prominent post on merit.
An ambitious MLS outfit made a high-profile addition to their dugout in January, having already done likewise on the field and in the boardroom.
United legend Beckham is a co-owner in Florida and grew up alongside Neville as part of the fabled Class of ’92 at Old Trafford, but a familiar face claims there were no favours handed out in a big business call.
What has been said?
Neville has told talkSPORT of his appointment: “When I was looking at this job I have to say, and you’re probably not going to believe me, but the interview process was as hard as any I have done.
“In terms of convincing – not David, David knows my qualities and we’d been speaking about this for a long time – but the other owners, the Mas family who are major shareholders in the organisation, they wanted to know and they wanted to pick the right person.
“They had sacked a manager after 12 months which they didn’t want to do, and they knew they had to make big, big changes and they have invested a lot of money into the facilities. Our training ground is worth £80m and it’s as good as anything in European football – it’s the best in America.
“Ultimately they liked me, they employed me and we’ve got off to a good start.”
The bigger picture
Inter Miami have opened their 2021 campaign with a 3-2 defeat and 2-1 win, with Neville aware that is under pressure to deliver on a consistent basis with a team that includes plenty of title-winning talent.
He added on the targets being set for him: “The owners have spent a lot of money and they wanted to create a culture around the club, so people are getting in early, we have breakfast together, we get in the gym and do all the prehabilitation and watch videos together before training, which wasn’t happening last season.
“So we just tried to create a culture that we see as normal – what the Lionesses do, what [speaking to Tracey Neville] your netball girls did when you were the manager.
“The players have loved it. We’ve got Gonzalo Higuain who is a world-class player, we’ve got Blaise Matuidi who is a World Cup winner, they just see this as part of what they’ve done as part of their career. They have been great and taken on everything we have wanted.
“And we are expected to win the MLS title this season. David, as one of the owners, everything he’s done he’s wanted to win and wanted to be the best at, and we’ve got the best training ground in America.
“So everything we do is we want to win. The owners have backed me, we’ve brought in 12 new players, so we’ve got to win every game – that’s the expectation on our shoulders.
“But that’s the expectation I and the players want. It’s the most competitive league in the world, where literally any team in the league can beat any team, and there’s not a league in the world where you travel through three time zones and play in so many different climates.
“It’s a really difficult league and a brutal league if you don’t get it right.”