BY RONALD BLUM, AP Sports journalist
David Beckham was reluctant when asked if Phil Neville was hired to coach Inter Miami because they are friends.
“Of course people will always turn around and say, oh, because he’s your friend. It has nothing to do with being my friend, ”Beckham said on Friday. “Our group of owners doesn’t just employ our friends. We employ the best people, whether on the field, off the field, in our back room staff, the staff we have in our training facility in the stadium.
“We run a serious football club here. And I think at the end of the day we hire people who we think are best suited for the job.”
Beckham, a former English captain, received a discounted ownership of a future Major League Soccer team as part of his transfer to the LA Galaxy for the 2007 season. Miami started last year with seven wins, 13 losses and three draws and, under coach Diego Alonso, finished 10th out of 14 teams in the Eastern Conference. Miami fired Alonso after a 3-0 loss to Nashville.
Neville played with Beckham at Manchester United from 1994 to 2003 and for the England team from 1996 to 2007. You are a partner in fourth-rate Salford City in England. Neville coached the English women’s team from 2018 until this month – the lionesses lost in the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup against the USA.
“My loyalty to Phil has always been there because as a player I’ve relied on him to keep doing these runs by my side,” said Beckham. “I never gave him the ball because I thought I was a better ball cruiser than him, so he never got those balls. But I knew he would keep doing these runs because he knew it was best for the team.
“And he will make these decisions not only as the coach of our club, but also as the coach of our academy system, as the coach of our USL team and as a manager. That’s why he’s in this position. Nothing to do with the relationship.” that we have, the friendship we have, the loyalty we have to one another. “
Beckham, Miami’s director of soccer operations, spoke to Jorge Mas, Miami’s executive owner, at a press conference.
“Phil Neville wasn’t given the Inter Miami job. Phil Neville deserves the job, ”said Mas. “The fact that he’s David’s friend is a reality and no one is running away. Actually, we accept it. “
Neville was hired as chief soccer officer and sports director on Monday along with former U.S. midfielder Chris Henderson. Beckham was absent from March through Christmas due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, but has been in Florida and attending training courses since then.
Neville is aware that many overseas coaches in MLS struggle with the salary cap, artificial turf, and weather extremes, with the exception of Gerardo Martino with Atlanta in 2018 and Gary Smith with Colorado in 2010. He recalled eight Bruce Arena coach Beckham for weeks and having watched the galaxy.
“The biggest challenge for me as a coach is to come here and prove to people that foreign coaches can come here and be successful,” said Neville. “There will be things about traveling and so on and the different time zones that we have to adapt to as well. But in the end I think that in my football career, in my short coaching career, I had to adapt to different situations like travel, heat, etc.
“So I’ve had good experiences with it. I’ve come to America every preseason where we were in a different city every two or three days. We have to adapt to that. And we did it. We played a game.” on the east coast, on the west coast, every two or three days. So I’m looking forward to the challenge. “
He inherits a squad that includes striker Gonzalo Higuaín and midfielder Blaise Matuidi, both 33 years old.
“I think these players know that they are a little injured. You’re a little bit afraid of last season’s gigs right now, ”he said. “And they want to come back this season and show everyone how good they are. So there’s this hunger, this determination that I’ve seen this week, and I’m sure we can adjust to the season. Add that with a little more quality in terms of the players we want to bring in, we become a really strong unit. “
Neville was an assistant coach at Valencia in 2015-16 when his brother Gary was the head coach. Phil Neville was too nervous to answer questions in Spanish on Friday but plans to start after the season opener.
He expects a seamless transition from coaching women to men.
“The sessions I did at Manchester United and Valencia were no different from the sessions I did for my women’s team last year,” he said. “It’s football that is played on the same field, with balls of the same size, with a referee, with fans in the stadium and ultimately with the same goal, and that is to be won.”
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