David Beckham always saw coaching as a better fit for England Women’s boss Phil Neville than his brother and fellow Manchester United ‘Class of 92’ academy graduate, Gary.
An iconic collection of talent which emerged through the ranks at Old Trafford alongside one another have moved in contrasting directions since glittering playing careers came to a close.
Former England captain Beckham is currently in the process of forming a new MLS franchise in Miami, while the likes of Gary Neville and Paul Scholes have moved into punditry.
The former has tried his hand at management, during a forgettable stint at Valencia, and Ryan Giggs is cutting his teeth with the Wales national teamfollowing a previous stint as Louis van Gaal’s assistant at United.
Phil Neville has followed that lead into international football, with Beckham not surprised to see a close friend take on a new challenge, telling the Telegraph: “To be honest out of Phil and Gary, I always expected Phil to go into coaching.
“Both of them were very intelligent in every way, on and off the field, but I am not surprised to see Phil in the role and I think he is enjoying it.”
Beckham paid a surprise visit to Neville’s squad ahead of Sunday’s SheBelieves Cup game against Germany and is backing a man who earned 59 England caps in his playing days to put his vast experience to good use and prove successful with The Lionesses.
He added: “It is good for the girls to have some who is so experienced and who has won everything in the game.
“The team is in good hands with him. His experience will give them a lot of opportunity to push on.
“Having someone with his experience, who has played for the clubs he has played in; playing with the players he has played with and obviously working under the manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, and all the experience he got from those years there. It is great for the girls.”
Neville has overseen a win over France and a draw with Germany in the SheBelieves Cup, and success in that competition can be wrapped up with victory over the United States.
Beckham is likely to be among those keeping a close eye on that contest, with the United and Real Madrid icon excited by the progress being made in the women’s game.
“It is really encouraging the way the game is growing,” added a man who also graced the books of AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and the LA Galaxy.
“I played in the United States for six years and have seen how the game is received here. It is great to see the profile now and the money that is being invested. It is important to have that grounding again.”