David Beckham has defended his decision to appoint Phil Neville as Inter Miami head coach.
Phil Neville left his position as England Women’s manager on Monday and took up the role with Inter Miami, which is part-owned by David Beckham.
Amid accusations that he only offered the job to Neville because of their decades-long friendship, Beckham insisted that a number of factors went into appointing Neville, none of which was their friendship.
“I’ve known him since I was 15, 16 years old, from a young kid,” Beckham told Sky Sports. “I knew what he was like as a player, I know what he’s like as a human being, I know what his work ethic is like.
— Inter Miami CF (@InterMiamiCF) January 21, 2021
“Him and his brother Gary, I’ve never seen two players work as hard at their game in my whole career. So to actually have someone like that come into this club – of course people are always going to turn around and say ‘Oh, it’s because he’s your friend’ – it’s nothing to do with him being my friend.
“I’m an owner of a club with Jorge (Mas). Our ownership group don’t just employ our friends, we employ the best people whether it’s on the field, off the field, in our backroom staff. We’re running a serious soccer club. We hire people we feel are best suited for the job.”
Neville and Beckham were teammates at Manchester United and England and the latter joked that he learned to trust Neville when they played together on the pitch.
Beckham has already praised Neville for what he’s done since accepting the role at Inter Miami, who played their first Major League Soccer match last March.
Beckham continued: “My loyalty to Phil has always been there, because as a player I relied on him to keep making those runs by the side of me, I never gave him the call because I felt I was a better crosser of the ball than he was.
— Fizzer18 (@Fizzer181) January 22, 2021
“But I knew he would keep on making those runs because he knew that was what was best for the team, and he will make those decisions as a coach, not just of our club, but a coach of our academy system and USL team, as a leader.
“That’s why he’s in this position. Nothing to do with the relationship we have, the friendship and loyalty we have. He’s the right man for the job. I’ve already seen since he’s been there the past week, his work ethic, what he’s done with the medical team, the changes with the coaching staff and the players, it’s so important, and that’s what I expect of our football club. That’s what I expect from Phil as a coach, so he’s the right man.”