New England coach Roy Hodgson has sprung a major surprise by appointing Gary Neville to his coaching team.

The former Manchester United defender has signed a four-year contract, which allows him to continue as a pundit for Sky Sports.

Neville will join Hodgson's team immediately and will be with the England squad next week as they begin preparations for Euro 2012.

"Gary has achieved so much in the game as a player with Manchester United and England," said Hodgson.

"He has obtained UEFA coaching qualifications and will be tremendously respected by the players because of his vast experience as a player.

"At my first meeting with The FA, I explained that Gary was someone I wanted as part of my staff.

"I think it is very important we have a younger coach who knows the dressing room and is very experienced at international level.

"That he has represented England as a player at five major finals tournaments will make him an invaluable member of staff."

Neville confirmed his retirement from the game in February 2010, having played 602 times for United and made 85 England appearances.

A member of that famed 'Class of 92', he was widely acclaimed as the best right-back of his generation.

He was viewed as likely management material but instead took a pundits' role, for which he has received widespread praise, and also did a column for the Mail on Sunday, which will continue outside of major tournaments.

Whether Neville will receive criticism for this remains to be seen.

However, for now, he is just delighted to be back within the England fold ahead of Euro 2012.

"Roy asking me to be a part of his staff and to work with the national team is not only an honour but a very special moment for me," said Neville.

"I had absolutely no hesitation in accepting this role and I am relishing the opportunity to work alongside Roy and the team at the Euros and through to the next two tournaments."

Gary Neville Factfile:

1975: Born February 18 in Bury.

1992: Wins FA Youth Cup in a two-legged final with Crystal Palace. The United team also included David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Keith Gillespie, Robbie Savage and Paul Scholes.

Makes first-team debut for Manchester United in the UEFA Cup against Torpedo Moscow.

1995: Plays in FA Cup final against Everton which United lost 1-0.

Makes England debut against Japan at age of 20 in UMBRO tournament at Wembley on June 3. England win 2-1.

1996: Member of United's double-winning squad. Establishes himself as regular in England team at Euro 96 but misses semi-final defeat to Germany at Wembley.

1998: Regular in Hoddle's side for France 98, including in penalty shoot-out defeat to Argentina.

1999: Member of United's treble-winning campaign, making 54 appearances.

2000: Wins his fourth championship medal and makes his 250th first-team appearance.

2001: Wins fifth Premiership title and signs new six-year deal with Manchester United worth £11million.

2002: February - Makes 50th England appearance in a 1-1 draw against Holland.

April - Breaks metatarsal bone in foot during first half of United's Champions League semi-final first leg clash with Bayer Leverkusen at Old Trafford. The injury eventually rules him out of the World Cup.

2003: Collects his sixth Premiership winner's medal.

2004: Wins the FA Cup for the third time as United beat Millwall 3-0 in Cardiff.

Ever-present member of the England Euro 2004 squad beaten in the quarter-finals by hosts Portugal.

2005: December - Named new Red Devils skipper by Sir Alex Ferguson following the departure of Roy Keane.

2006: February - Lifts his first trophy as skipper after a 4-0 Carling Cup triumph over Wigan.

2007: United win Premier League title with Neville making 24 appearances in the league.

Injury problems mean Neville does not make a league appearance in the 2007-08 season, in which United retained their Premier League title.

2008: May - Not named in the squad for the Champions League final, which United won with a penalty shoot-out victory over Chelsea in Moscow.

2009: May 24 - Handed a surprise recall to the England squad by Fabio Capello for World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Andorra but does not add to his 85 caps.

2010: April 30 - Signs a new one-year contract with Manchester United.

2011: February 2 - Announces his retirement from football having made 602 appearances for United.

2012: May 14 - Appointed as an England coach on a four-year contract.