Phil Neville has been explaining why he turned down Newcastle United.

The former Manchester United player was still working in the media when approached to become assistant manager under Steve McClaren in the summer.

A bit of a surprise to see somebody turn down a role like that in the Premier League as their first management type role.

Phil Neville says that due to already knowing and respecting Steve McClaren from his Manchester United days, he came up to Tyneside for talks, but he had already set his heart on going elsewhere.

That place was Valencia and Neville says that he wanted ‘to be different’ and to map out a different future to what might have been expected.

Phil Neville was duly appointed and he is assistant to manager Nuno, after five matches they have made an average to poor start with six points from five matches and currently sit in 10th place in La Liga.

Interestingly, due to Phil Neville (amongst others, according to the media) turning down Steve McClaren and Newcastle, eventually it was Neville’s predecessor at Valencia, Ian Cathro, who took up the vacant position as McClaren’s assistant.

Cathro had been assistant to Nuno both when managing in Portugal and at Valencia.

Phil Neville:

“I like Steve McClaren and I went up there out of respect to him but I had set my heart on coming here. I wanted a new experience, to learn another language.

“I wanted to be different and I wanted people to realise I’m taking my coaching career very seriously. I wanted to create my own pathway.”


“The phone call from Nuno came out of the blue, I was out on the driving range – ‘Do you want to be assistant manager at Valencia?’

“It was one of those life-changing moments when you are almost shaking, nervous, excited. And I thought, ‘Yes I do’.”