MLS... MORE LIKE MHELLS
Neville faces a shock as it’s a whole new ball game out here
PHIL NEVILLE has been warned that managing Inter Miami in the MLS will be no walk on the beach.
The message has already been passed on personally by former Everton star Adrian Heath, manager at Minnesota United in the Western Conference for the past four and a half years.
Heath, a Goodison hero when the Toffees were kings of England and Europe in 1984, is better placed than most to know the pitfalls of operating in a league that is attracting global attention these days.
All eyes will be on former Manchester United, Everton and England star Neville when the new MLS season kicks off next weekend – with Inter Miami founder David Beckham having faith that his Class of ’92 pal will be able to put the club on the USA’s football map.
Neville has had his coaching experience at Old Trafford, Goodison, Valencia and England’s
But Heath reckons the top flight
Stateside is no Mickey
– and will be a big test for the new Miami head coach.
Phil’s taken up the challenge of working out here, but the MLS will be a whole new ball game and different to anything he’s ever known before.
“We’ve chatted a couple of times and texted each other and I’ve told him that once things settle down for him in Miami I will happily have a chat, because there are certain pitfalls we could talk about to help him.”
Heath, now 60, who has been working in America for 13 years, added: “I’m sure Phil will want to get his ideas across on the training ground and Miami will be hoping with his background and experience he’ll get more out of the team than they delivered last season.
“Miami have some big-name stars – like Gonzalo Higuain, Blaise Matuidi, Rodolfo Pizarro, and a couple of young Argentines, Matias Pellegrini and Julian Carranza.
“But they’ll all have to stand up and do much
Phil needs to get more out of Miami’s stars this season more than they did in the club’s first season in the MLS last year.
“If Miami are going to have the year David and Phil would want they are going to need big some performances and output from those guys.
“My old boss and mentor Howard Kendall would often say, ‘If you want to be a good coach lad, get really good players’ – and I don’t think that has changed.
“Miami have thrown plenty of money at it but Phil will be reliant on Higuain and Matuidi and the other stars who came in too late last season.”
Beckham might have brought
glitz and glamour to Miami in his ‘second coming’ in America after his LA Galaxy days as a player – but his new franchise is a long way from being close to the really big clubs of the MLS.
Heath said: “Things don’t really change here in the Western Conference.
“Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers have been around since the 70s. Seattle have been to four of the last five finals. Portland have been selling out their stadium for the last nine seasons. So Miami are not a ‘Hollywood’ club yet.
“The Hollywood club is still LA Galaxy who are huge. LAFC came in and have an incredible stadium and support, and they’ve taken everything up a notch.
“In the Eastern, Toronto are a huge club, too, arguably the biggest in MLS in terms of ownership and the backing that enables them to spend heavily.
“The two New York clubs are spending plenty. So too are Atlanta, who have Gabriel Heinze as their coach and a big budget again after spending over £30million last season.
“Undoubtedly, all eyes are on Miami, who have created a lot of interest because of Beckham.
“But I think they’re very much aware the time is coming now where they have got to deliver.
“They have come in with all the incredible fanfare – but now they have got to back it up.”