Carlos Tevez has been in England for almost seven years but unfortunately still can’t manage to string a sentence together in English.
He has been interviewed by The Sun today (which has obviously been translated) about England’s problems at major tournaments and for some reason has gone on a strange rant about Gary Neville:
Players like Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney, one of the greatest players I’ve had the privilege to play alongside, possess those qualities —and they’re not alone.
We’ve got a core of England players at City — Joe Hart, Joleon Lescott, James Milner, Gareth Barry — so I know the class and pedigree is there.
And it’s difficult to believe the country doesn’t challenge more successfully at the Euros or in the World Cup.
But maybe England have to look at the structure of its coaching staff.
Which brings me to Gary Neville. I can’t believe that any of the top countries would employ a television pundit as a part-time coach.
Can you imagine Spain, Italy, Germany, Holland, Brazil or Argentina employing a manager’s right-hand man whose day job is a television pundit? I can’t ever see it happening.
This week, I saw that Gary is part of a venture to build a new hotel in Manchester.
How does that benefit England and Roy Hodgson?
At least when Fabio Capello was in charge, you saw his assistant, Franco Baldini at Premier League games scouting players.
To be honest, I haven’t seen much of that from Gary Neville.
He’s happy to make jokes about players referring them to a PlayStation game but I’m not sure many World Cups have been won on PlayStation — so I think Gary needs to stop playing games and concentrate on his coaching. I know Sky is a high-profile and lucrative job and must pay well but he has to decide whether his first loyalty is to them or the FA.
He should be out there watching games in the Premier League or the Championship, reporting back on current players and those who might play a part in the World Cup and beyond.
He should also be turning up at clubs, watching their sessions, seeing how top class coaches work and how England players respond to them.
I’ve worked under great managers, probably some of the best in the world and I don’t think any of them would consider having an assistant whose main focus was not 100 per cent on the job.
Spain have been the most successful side in the world for the past few years.
Is their assistant manager a TV pundit?
The short answer is no. Gary has to decide whether England is his absolute focus or does he want to make a name for himself on Sky.
If Neville’s job on the side was driving a bus or doing a paper round, you could understand Tevez’s point (even if you couldn’t understand why he was so worked up by it), but surely the fact that Neville’s job is to watch football games, analyse them in superb detail and write about it, means he is “out there watching games in the Premier League”.
These two have previous though which unsurprisingly originated from Tevez’s idiocy. Ahead of the first round of the League Cup semi-final in 2010, Neville was asked what he thought about Tevez’ move to Manchester City and whether Sir Alex Ferguson should have fought harder to keep him at United.
“The manager over the years has made many decisions with regard to players coming and going – and he has almost always been proved correct,” said Neville. “Over a period of 20 years he may have got one or two wrong, and I think he has admitted that himself, but he knows exactly what he’s doing and he understands when a player’s time is up. I can’t disagree with his decision on Tevez. He was a good player for us but, if the financial demands are too big, then that’s just the way it goes.”
However, because Tevez can’t read English, he relied on the translation of one of his team mates, who clearly painted a different version of what Neville actually said. Tevez was furious, believing that Neville has been critical of him, and when he scored against United in the first leg he ran directly to the dug out to celebrate in front of Neville. In response, Neville stuck his finger up at him.
Following the game he was interviewed by ESPN Argentina and flipped him lid.
“My celebration was directed at Gary Neville,” he said. “He acted like a complete sock-sucker [boot-licker] when he said I wasn’t worth £25m just to suck up to the manager. I don’t know what the hell that idiot is talking about me for. I never said anything about him. I will never show a lack of respect towards anyone. Just as I was running off to celebrate the penalty I had scored, I came across Gary and I said to myself: “Shut your trap, keep quiet”. I didn’t go overboard in my celebration and it was directed at Gary, not at Ferguson and not at the fans. I think he did the wrong thing because I was his team-mate and I never said anything bad about him. He was saying that Ferguson was right when he said that I wasn’t worth £25m, when he was saying this and that … I always respected Neville.”
However, if Tevez had read what had actually been said about him, he would have realised that Neville didn’t actually say he wasn’t worth £25m, but that he was a good player for United but we couldn’t afford the asking price. But he didn’t.
“I was at lunch with the players in the team hotel and all the papers were laid out,” said Tevez. “I read them – well, ‘read them’, obviously I don’t read [English]. My team-mates were telling me about it and asking what I thought.”
In the second leg, United scored an injury time winner and knocked City out of the competition, before winning beating Aston Villa in the final at Wembley a few weeks later. Rio Ferdinand was all too happy to take the piss out of Tevez when he left the Old Trafford pitch after beating City, mimicking the celebration Tevez had directed at Neville in the previous game.
“I think this has all been lost in translation a little bit,” said Jonny Evans afterwards. “I don’t think Gary said Carlos wasn’t worth £25million. He was just saying the manager usually gets these decisions right and we will get on with it. From what I hear, either Carlos has read it wrong or someone is winding him up and he has reacted.”
Years have gone by since but for some reason the weird little goblin still hasn’t got over it. However, you’d think that a player who spent months of last season on a golfing holiday wouldn’t be preaching about how people should do their job properly…