Phil Neville insists Portland Timbers job is a ‘dream’ amid fan criticism

Phil Neville has previously been in charge of Inter Miami and England’s Lionesses

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Phil Neville has described his role with Portland Timbers as a “dream” after being appointed manager of the Major League Soccer (MLS) club.

Neville has replaced Giovanni Savarese at the Oregon side on a deal that runs until 2026. It is the former England international’s first managerial role since leaving Inter Miami in June.

The 46-year-old has worked with Canada’s men’s national team since his departure from a club owned by ex-Manchester United teammate David Beckham.

And Neville has insisted that he chose his new job with the Timbers from a number of appealing options.

“I was lucky to have plenty of coaching opportunities to take,” Neville explained at his unveiling.

“But my gut said straight away I had to follow this dream to become the Portland Timbers head coach.”

Neville’s appointment has been cricitised by fans of the Timbers, who finished 10th in the Western Conference and missed out on the 2023 MLS play-offs.

Phil Neville had been working as an assistant with Canada since his departure from Inter Miami

The Timbers Army fan group said in a statement that it was “deeply disappointed” that the club had appointed a manager with “a history of sexist public statements”.

Neville has previously apologised for a series of posts on X, then known as Twitter, made more than a decade ago that resurfaced after the former full-back was appointed as manager of the Lionesses in 2018.

The 59-cap international has reiterated that his social media posts were “wrong” and said he hopes to build “incredible trust” with Portland supporters.

“The big part of this city is the supporters, and the statement they put out showed that this club cares about their people,’ Neville said.

“In reference to the tweets I made in 2011, I addressed these in 2019 when I was named the head coach of the England women’s team. [They are] by no means a reflection of me as a person, of my character, and without a shadow of a doubt, the way I was brought up by my mother and father in terms of the values they instilled in me.

“The tweets I put out were wrong in 2011, and they’re wrong today. I want to get to know the Timbers Army, I want to get to know everybody in the city, and I want them to get to know me as a person, as a character. And I want to make sure there is an incredible trust between us.”

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