Phil Neville named new Inter Miami head coach

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Phil Neville has been appointed the new head coach of Inter Miami CF in Major League Soccer, as the former Manchester United and England defender left his current job as manager of the England women’s team.

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David Beckham has chosen his close friend and former teammate to replace recently fired head coach Diego Alonso.

Inter Miami have also appointed Chris Henderson as Chief Soccer Officer and Sporting Director after his incredible work with the Seattle Sounders over the last 13 years. Henderson is a former USMNT star, knows MLS inside-out and formerly played for the Miami Fusion during their brief stint in MLS.

Phil Neville, 43, was due to leave the England women’s national team in July after coaching Team GB at the Olympics, as current Dutch women’s national team head coach, Sarina Wiegman, will replace him as England boss. But he has now left the Lionesses early to head into his first head-coaching job in the men’s game after stints as an assistant at Manchester United and Valencia.

Neville was assistant coach to David Moyes at Manchester United in 2013-14 but that season didn’t go well as they were fired and since then he was assistant coach with his brother Gary at Valencia, but they were also fired after a short spell in charge of the Spanish club.

Speaking about his arrival at Inter Miami, Neville was delighted to join the second-year team who finished in 10th in the Eastern Conference in their inaugural MLS season in 2020.

“I am incredibly delighted for this opportunity to coach Inter Miami and to work with Chris and the entire ownership group,” Neville said. “This is a very young club with a lot of promise and upside, and I am committed to challenging myself, my players and everyone around me to grow and build a competitive soccer culture we can all be proud of. This fantastic soccer-loving market deserves consistent performances and a winning mentality, and I look forward to getting to work.”

Co-owner David Beckham is a close friend of Phil Neville, as they played together for Manchester United and England, and said they share the same football DNA.

“I am very happy with the leadership group we have established to lead the team as we turn the page following our inaugural season and look forward to having Chris and Phil join us soon. I have known Phil since we were both teenagers at the Manchester United Academy. We share a footballing DNA having been trained by some of the best leaders in the game, and it’s those values that I have always wanted running through our club,” Beckham said.

“Phil has deep experience in football, as a player and as a coach at both club and international level, and over his career he has worked with many of the finest managers and players in the game. I know his qualities as a person, his decency, loyalty and honesty – and his incredible energy and work ethic. Anyone who has played or worked with Phil knows he is a natural leader, and I believe now is the right time for him to join.”

Is Neville to MLS be a good idea?

Neville hasn’t had any experience within MLS, but the right people can help him in that regard as Beckham and Henderson will work closely with him to build the team and an identity. It’s safe to say Neville is a left-field choice.

This will certainly take Inter Miami CF in a different direction to the one they were heading in, as Neville’s coaching style is very pragmatic and will be very different to the skillset of the squad Alonso put together. You can understand why Neville would want this gig, but why did Miami pick him?

He is said to be a very good motivator and the England women’s team certainly seemed to enjoy playing for him, but many within the women’s game questioned his conduct after certain comments and although he led England to the semifinal of the 2019 World Cup, he came up just short in his goal of winning a trophy with the Lionesses.

With Blaise Matuidi and Gonzalo Higuain the two star players on the Inter Miami CF roster, plus Rodolfo Pizzaro and Matias Pellegrini around as Designated Players, there is a sense that Alonso didn’t get the most out of a talented squad in 2020.

Beckham was always likely to call on his vast array of contacts to help him out at Inter Miami, and this seems like just the first step towards a Manchester reunion in Miami. Who’s next: Gary Neville as the TV commentator and Ryan Giggs as a fitness coach!?