Phil Neville will be joining the England Under-21s coaching staff for this year’s European Championships.
It was announced on Tuesday that the Blues captain will work alongside head coach Stuart Pearce and his backroom team at the summer tournament, which will be held in Israel between 5-18 June and see England compete in Group A alongside the host nation, Norway and Italy.
It will be Neville’s second coaching experience with the Young Lions after previously contributing in the build-up to the Under-21s’ 4-0 victory against Belgium in February 2012.
Neville said: “It is a fantastic opportunity for me to work with the best young players at Under-21 level. I had a little taste of this against Belgium and it was probably the best three days I have had – it was a real eye-opener.
“Those three days told me that coaching is what I really want to do. The thing I noticed about the Under-21s is that there is a great spirit amongst the staff and the players, and there is a real togetherness and determination that they want to win this tournament. If I can play a small part and learn from it then it will be great.
“In tournament football you learn so much. You learn how to handle players in a different environment and how to get the best out of players. As a coach is more intense during a tournament as you have got so many games to watch, videos to prepare and then you have to plan and manage your squad.
“I have been to three major tournaments as a player and to now sample it on the other side will be a great chance for me. I am looking forward to working with the best young players this country has got.”
During his senior England career, Neville earned 59 caps and was part of the squads that competed at Euro 96 and Euro 2000.
Under-21s head coach Pearce has welcomed the 36-year-old’s involvement, believing that England’s young players can benefit from his past tournament experience.
Pearce said: “Phil is treading a path towards building up his coaching credentials and has demonstrated his commitment to this by taking time out of his own summer to join us in Israel.
“For The FA it’s important to encourage young coaches to take such opportunities and we’re pleased that Phil will be with us during the tournament. Not only is it a good opportunity for Phil to learn from our environment, but it is also a chance for the young players to work with Phil. Everyone benefits from this arrangement.
"Can Phil be one of my future successors? Yes, that's the plan.
"The FA have their eyes on him and want to push him on and we want to encourage that.
"We should help the ex-players who want to be managers. From Phil's point of view he still has the contacts from the playing side, he wants to be coach and not just say he's a footballer and wants to be handed it.
"He's got the right professional skills to be a good coach. It's a volatile profession but if I look at any individual who can be a good coach or manager Phil has that."