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Atkinson labels Neville 'naive' for taking Valencia plunge

It was "naive" of Gary Neville to accept the Valencia job without more experience, according to former Atletico Madrid coach Ron Atkinson.

Neville endured a torrid time at the Mestalla last season after taking the role in December.

The former Manchester United defender won just 10 of his 28 matches in charge of Los Che and left the post in March.

He has since returned to television punditry after a chastening exposure to the rigours of life in the hot seat.

And ex-West Brom, United and Aston Villa boss Atkinson, who spent a turbulent spell at Vicente Calderon in 1988-89, believes Neville was unwise to take the plunge in LaLiga.  

"I thought he was brave to do what he did. Maybe naive," he told Omnisport ahead of the release of his autobiography, 'Ron Atkinson: The Manager'. 

"He had no managerial experience and Valencia's a big club. With passionate fans. And straight away, if it's not going to work, you're going to get the white handkerchief treatment. 

"They would know Gary Neville as a full-back with Man United who played for England. 

"But to make that his first managerial appointment, particularly when he didn't speak to language, when he [had] no managerial experience … I don't think you can start your career there. 

"You've got to have a fair amount of managerial experience under your belt and then you might go."