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Phil Neville will take his first step on England's coaching ladder when he links up with the Under 21 squad next week.
The 35-year-old has accepted an invitation from head coach Stuart Pearce after being given the all-clear by Everton and will assist Brian Eastick for the crucial European Championship qualifier against Belgium.
Neville, who has been capped 59 times, will be involved in all training session and, with Pearce and his assistant Steve Wigley taking charge of the senior team, will also be on the bench alongside Eastick for the game at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium.
Neville has long held coaching ambitions and is working towards his UEFA 'A' licence, having already secured his 'B' licence.
England are top of Group Eight with 12 points and a win would almost certainly secure them a place in the Euro 2013 play-offs.
Phil Neville will help England's Under-21s cope with the absence of Stuart Pearce, below, in next week's European Championship qualifier against Belgium after getting special dispensation to join the Football Association's coaching staff on a one-off basis.
The Everton captain will be in the dugout for the game in Middlesbrough on Wednesday to help Brian Eastick prepare the side now that Pearce will be in charge of the senior team in the friendly international against Holland at Wembley.
Neville is using the opportunity to gain coaching experience, although the 35-year-old defender-cum-midfielder will mostly be involved in a watching capacity. Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace and Hull City's Cameron Stewart have won their first call-ups to the squad.
Everton have confirmed that Darron Gibson is facing up to a month on the sidelines because of a knee injury.
However, a club spokesman said the full extent of the problem has yet to be determined.
Gibson will be bitterly disappointed to miss the Republic of Ireland's friendly against the Czech Republic next week, as he wanted to impress Giovanni Trapattoni ahead of Euro 2012.
The pair have not always seen eye to eye, as Trapattoni was critical of Gibson for not leaving former club Manchester United sooner.
But his move to Everton last month has breathed new life into his career and the Czech friendly was a chance to shine ahead of the summer's finals.
DARRON GIBSON will face a race against time to be fit for Everton FC's bid to return to Wembley.
The 24-year-old EFC midfielder has been ruled out for up to four weeks with a knee injury, casting doubt on his availability for the FA Cup quarter-final showdown with Sunderland on either March 17 or 18.
Gibson, who signed from Manchester United in January, will already miss the Blues' next Premier League fixtures against QPR next Saturday and Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison on March 10.
The injury is a setback to David Moyes, who has started the Republic of Ireland international in every game since he signed in January.
Everton have been unbeaten since the former Old Trafford youth player's arrival, winning four out of the seven games he has appeared in.
Gibson will travel to London to have his knee assessed by specialists today, after limping off the field in the 82nd minute of last Saturday's 2-0 FA Cup fifth round win over Blackpool.
He is also certain to miss Ireland's Lansdowne Road friendly clash with the Czech Republic on Wednesday.
EVERTON captain Phil Neville is to take his first step in coaching by helping England Under-21s with their preparations for next week's Euro 2013 qualifier.
The Three Lions take on Belgium at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium on Wednesday night and Neville will be helping out Brian Eastick and John Peacock.
Eastick normally takes the Under-20s and Peacock the Under-17s but the reshuffle at the FA following the resignation of Fabio Capello will see the pair team up next week.
Neville will be taking his first steps towards a possible post-playing career in coaching by joining the set-up, following an invitation from the Football Association that he was delighted to accept.
England are currently top of Group 8 with four wins and a draw from their five fixtures so far. Belgium are second with four points less.