Canada’s John Herdman adds to coaching staff with Phil Neville, Richard Shaw

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
Canada’s John Herdman adds to coaching staff with Phil Neville, Richard Shaw

TORONTO — Canada coach John Herdman has called in some veteran help for his team’s push for a trophy this summer.

Phil Neville and Richard Shaw are joining Herdman’s coaching staff. 

Neville is a former England international who was in charge of Inter Miami CF until he was fired June 1. Shaw is a former Crystal Palace, Coventry City and Millwall defender who is currently a development coach with Watford.

They join Herdman’s existing staff of assistants Mauro Biello, Simon Eaddy and Eric Tenllado.

Herdman says he is looking for “the next level of winning mentality.”

‘It’s part of the progress toward (the World Cup in) 2026,” he added.

Neville will be with the team for the CONCACAF Nations League and hopefully the Gold Cup, Herdman said.

“Obviously he’s just come out of work with Miami so it’s been pretty last minute in terms of being able to access him,” he said. “So that’s an ongoing conversation with Phil. At this stage it’s an opportunity to come in, just get a different experience, take himself out of the head coach pressures and just enjoy a different environment.”

Herdman said he had discussions with Neville prior to the World Cup in Qatar about spending time with Canada as an assistant.

Shaw will be part of the staff for both tournaments.

“For both coaches, it’ll be an opportunity, one, for us to look at them and see how they fit with our culture, the environment and what they can offer as we plan for 2026,” Herdman said. “And for them, it’s just, I think, a unique opportunity as they describe it to be part of a Canadian team pushing for silverware and its first silverware in a long time.

“They’re super-excited to come in and to get to know the group. And to add their value — and their value is pretty immense across different areas.”

They also fill a void left by the promotion of Jason deVos, Canada’s Soccer’s director of development, to interim general secretary.

Herdman said he had “some challenges financially” in recruiting an assistant coach in the past and deVos, a former Canada captain and centre back, had filled that gap.

“With Jason leaving, that left a big hole in that defensive area,” Herdman said.

Biello works with the forwards while Tenllado look after the midfield and Eaddy the goalkeepers. Shaw will now work with the defensive unit while Neville helps with fullbacks/wingbacks.

“For me it will be just a great opportunity just to tap into Phil’s brain,” Herman said. “I’ve heard a lot of great things about Phil being a terrific man-manager and learning a lot from (former Manchester United manager) Alex Ferguson. So I’m hoping Phil can transfer a lot of that to our coaching staff as well as our player group.

“And I know from his perspective he’s excited to come and see the Canadian team. He was very impressed with what he saw at the World Cup in terms of the performances and how brave they were, the style of play. So he’s really interested to see how we go about our business. So it should be a win-win.

“These coaches may stay on but I’m certainly looking to recruit coaches that have had these varied experiences through the next four years so this will be a trend that you’ll see — these guest coaches rotating in. And some of those coaches might stick around … The players will really enjoy different voices and people who have won — at the highest level.”

Canada, ranked 47th in the world, takes on No. 58 Panama on June 15 in Las Vegas in the Nations League semifinal. The winner will play either the 13th-ranked U.S. or No. 15 Mexico in the final.

The Canadian men will then turn their attention to the Gold Cup, starting with a June 27 match in Toronto against a yet-to-be-decided qualifier. Canada’s next two Group D games are in Houston against No. 116 Guatemala and No. 165 Cuba.

Neville spent three years as coach of the English women’s team, where he worked with current Canadian women’s coach Bev Priestman, prior to taking charge of Inter Miami in January 2021. Neville, who holds a UEFA Pro coaching license, also had assistant coaching stints with Valencia CF, Manchester United and the England men’s under-21 side.

He retired as a player in June 2013 after 19 seasons with Manchester United and Everton FC. The younger brother of fullback Gary Neville, he made more than 300 appearances for the Red Devils, helping the team win the Premier League six times, three FA Cups and the UEFA Champions League.

He also made more than 300 appearances with Everton and won 59 caps for England.

Shaw made more than 650 appearances in English football before coaching at Millwall and Coventry City. Prior to joining Watford, he worked in the Crystal Palace academy.

Herdman’s relationship with Shaw dates back to a coaching course they took together more than a decade ago.


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This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 9, 2023

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