There can be no doubt that Gary Neville is an English football legend. A member of Manchester United's legendary "Class of '92," Neville spent almost two decades with the Red Devils, earning his first senior cap in 1992 and sticking around until 2011. He was the football club's captain for five of those seasons, contributed to eight Premier League victories, won the Champions League twice, and tallied 602 appearances. As a figure in England football history, and as a player period, Neville will never be forgotten.

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Leaving England

Outside of England, though-and in the management game-Neville still has plenty to prove. He currently serves as assistant manager for the English national team, a post he has held since 2012. However, his more recent appointment to the head coaching position at Valencia is not only his first full-fledged management role but also the first time he's worked outside of England in his illustrious career.

Indeed, thanks to Neville's lengthy spell at Old Trafford, Manchester United was the only soccer club that the right back ever played for. He was never even sent out on loan during his 19 years with the team.

The hope, of course, is that Neville's excellent career and previous leadership experience-both as an assistant manager for a national team and a team captain for Manchester United in their prime-will translate to success for Valencia. He may be leaving England for Spain, but the game is still the same.

A Not-so-Promising Start

Unfortunately, Gary Neville is off to a lukewarm start at Valencia. He's taking over for Nuno Espirito Santo, who managed the Bats to a stellar fourth-place finish in last year's La Liga. Beyond Spanish football's "core three"-Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Atletico Madrid-Valencia were the best soccer team in Spain last season. They finished just one point behind Atletico, the reigning league champions from the previous season. Needless to say, fans were hoping for even better in 2015 2016.

Instead, Valencia have stalled out this season. The Bats settled for draws in three of their first four matches of the campaign and have been similarly inconsistent ever since. They've had great weeks (a 5-1 win over the highly ranked Celta Vigo squad, for instance), but have struggled to string together even two wins consecutively, let alone four or five.

When Valencia lost to Sevilla on November 29th, Santo decided to resign his managerial duties. The soccer club filled his position with the appointment of Gary Neville on December 2nd. So far, though, Neville hasn't made a great first impression. His first game in charge, a December 9th Champions League fixture against Olympique Lyonnais, resulted in a 0-2 loss. Even with a win, the Bats would have been eliminated from the UCL, but the loss made the tournament exit sting that much more.

Then, in his first La Liga fixture, Neville's Valencia squad had to come from behind to salvage a 1-1 draw with Eibar. Without an 85-minute goal from Andres Gomes, Neville would have been looking at a zero-zero-two record with his new soccer club. Instead, he's at zero-one-one but still needs a win to earn the confidence of fans and football pundits alike.

Current Standings and Holiday Season Prospects

Right now, Valencia are at eighth place in the Spanish La Liga, having taken 21 points from the first 15 games of the season. Their league record is a winning one, albeit just slightly: five wins, six draws, and four losses.

They do have a solid goal difference of +7, though, which is the same as Deportivo La Coruna and better than any other football club on the table outside of the core three. Paco Alcacer is the team's top scorer, with six goals so far. The real star, though, are goalkeepers Jaume Domenech and Matthew Ryan, who have together kept Valencia's "Goals Against" tally at 12. Only Atletico Madrid have conceded fewer goals, with a GA total of seven.

These factors show that the Bats still have promise, and Gary Neville will look to capitalize on that promise during the busy La Liga festive period. Valencia have three La Liga matches scheduled between now and January 3rd, against Getafe, Villarreal, and Real Madrid respectively. Wins in two or three of those matches could propel the Bats up the league standings table and drastically change the way fans and pundits are talking about Neville's management abilities.

In other words, let's wait until after the holidays to make any judgments about Gary Neville. In the meantime, though, you can pick up a brand new Valencia jersey from Soccer Box!