PHIL NEVILLE insists he will not allow his stint coaching England’s Under-21s to detract from his focus on Everton’s season.
The Blues skipper has made no secret of his desire to go into management when he retires from playing, and was asked to join the England Under-21 back-room staff while Stuart Pearce looks after the full squad this week.
But Neville, who will take his UEFA ‘A’ coaching Licence in the summer, says he was grateful to David Moyes for allowing him to grab the opportunity – and maintains he is still fully committed to helping Everton finish their campaign on a high.
He said: “David Moyes has been fantastic. I am still a player and have had to miss a couple of days of training – I wasn’t worried – but I did not want him thinking I was taking my eye off the ball at Everton.
“But he was great. He said that when you are getting to a certain stage of your career then you have to take these opportunities and he couldn’t stand in my way.
“He has been there. He has been a young coach. He has always included me and tried to help me in the past six or seven years and this is no different.”
The 35-year-old, who won seven under-21 caps to go with 59 senior appearances, is still focused on his playing career.
And he says that when he is ready to hang up his boots he will not automatically target jobs that are suitable for more experienced coaches.
“I want to get all my badges and do my badges well,” he said. “I don’t want to take any short-cuts. I down want to leave any stone unturned.
“I don’t want to come out of football and say ‘I have played for 17 years at the top level so I deserve to be a manager’ – that is the biggest load of rubbish ever.
“I want to get my badges. I want to go from the start. It is like learning how to walk or learning how to drive – it is totally different from being a player.
“I have looked at successful managers and they have all done that. They have gone back down to the grass roots and worked their way up. That is part of my plan for the next five to 10 years. I want to make sure that when I finish my career I am still learning every single day and continue to develop and put the same effort in to being a manager as I did to being a player.”