|Manchester United Captain|
|Desc||No defender has more Premier League winner’s medals than Neville’s eight. He was consistent and reliable defensively and formed a fruitful partnership with his close friend David Beckham on United’s right, before later becoming captain of his one and only club|
|Org||England Natioanl Team|
|Club as Coach||Valencia|
|Club as Player||Manchester United|
|Salford City||Gary Neville, along with his brother Phil, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes is a co-owner of Salford City|
2009 07 10 Retrieve
[Gary Neville names Bryan Robson as his hero] I always think of him giving everything for the cause at the defensive end of the pitch and then throwing everything at the ball to get it in the back of the net at the other end
2010 10 26 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says wanted to see agents out of the game] [Players] need good advice, from a solicitor or an accountant - but they don’t need people taking hundreds of thousands off them
2011 08 28 Retrieve
[Quote from Gary Neville’s Autobiography RED] Steven Gerrard is undoubtedly a world class player and I wish he’d played for United. I went on a tapping-up mission at Euro 2004 when I knew Chelsea were trying to take advantage of Liverpool being in turmoil. ‘Come play for United’, I said one day to Steven when we were in the hotel. ‘The fans will take to you in no time’. He just laughed, and said: ‘I’ll do it if you go to Anfield’
2011 11 27 Retrieve
[Owen’s former team-mate Gary Neville told of his absolute devastation becasue of Gary Speed’s death] He was a fantastic professional, who was a winner. It’s absolutely devastating. We think of football sometimes being important, but it’s not really
2013 11 05 Retrieve
[Gary Neville on Paul Scholes] I wouldn’t swap Paul Scholes for anybody. He is quite simply the most complete footballer I have ever played with. He is the best
2015 04 18 Retrieve
[Gary Neville on Yaya Toure] There are some weeds in the garden, and you’ve got to get them out of the changing room pretty quick. You cannot carry passengers. When the balance tips to a point when going forward [Yaya Toure] isn’t quite as effective as he once was, you’ve got to do something different because the defensive side is poor. He cannot play in a two in midfield against an opposition of any quality. There are too many examples, too much evidence when watching him where he cannot do his job - simple as that. As a central midfield player in the big matches he just cannot do it
2015 05 02 Retrieve
[Gary Neville on Michael Carrick] I’d say Michael Carrick has the qualities of a Scholes, Andrea Pirlo and Sergio Busquets
2015 08 01 Retrieve
[Gary Neville on transfer marketplace] If you asked me, ‘Is any player worth £50m?’, I’d say no. But the reality of it is every player is worth what someone is willing to pay. Do you think your fillet steak is worth 25 quid when you go to a restaurant in London? I go to London, I pay £28 for a rib-eye steak. Do I think it’s worth it? No! I can get one for five quid in a supermarket! The whole world has gone mad, but people never complain about motor racing, baseball, basketball, tennis, golf
2015 08 20 Retrieve
[Gary Neville on Thierry Henry] We were blessed in this country to see Thierry playing at his peak, potentially one of the greatest players in the world, and even if you supported another team you couldn’t help but enjoy watching him play. It’s always a shame when such a career comes to an end
2015 08 29 Retrieve
[Gary Neville on Arsenal winning the league] I think they are good players, Cazorla is fantastic to watch. But I’m talking about Arsenal winning the league. Think about Fabregas or a Paul Scholes when we were playing, fantastic player. You’ve got to build people around him. Facilitate what maybe they can’t do. To me it’s [Arsene Wenger’s] arrogance. I really do. To think that you are not going to adapt your team, to change to impact on the other teams that you’re playing against and their strengths. It is either naive or arrogance. Because they keep losing this way. Belief? It is misheld belief
2015 09 12 Retrieve
[Gary Neville on himself] I was a central midfield player. At 14 a new batch of players came. I quickly realised I wasn’t going to make it as a central midfield player amongst this group. You watched David Beckham or Ryan Giggs as a young 14-year-old - you’re not stupid, you’re looking at people who are incredibly talented, far more talented than you are, and you think, ‘I better work hard here’. I was a hard working kid anyway, but I recognised at that point that I was going to have to work so much harder than I ever could have imagined. So at 16 - it sounds brutal this but I think you sometimes have to be brutal in life - I completely lost touch with all my school friends, and I had great friends at school from the age of 11 to 16. But I made a conscious decision. They wanted different things from their life. They could go to a club, they could go to a pub - I know you’re not supposed to but you just did (laughs). They socialised. I never socialised for two years. I never went out. Literally from the age of 16 to 18, I went to bed half-past-eight/nine o’clock every night. I woke up at half-past-six/seven o’clock every morning. When we had the afternoon off, I trained. In the evening, when everyone went home, I came back and trained with the schoolboys. I just threw my whole life into it for two years
2015 11 10 Retrieve
[on David Beckham] The goal he scored against Wimbledon, he practiced that in training every single day. Every single day he’d be striking balls from the halfway line towards the goal
2015 11 28 Retrieve
[on Roy Keane] There wasn’t a player at United who could match Roy’s influence in my time at the club
2015 11 29 Retrieve
[on Roy Keane] He was a great player, beyond question. A midfielder of extraordinary tenacity and box-to-box dynamism, with a ferocious tackle and an underrated ability to use the ball astutely. But perhaps his greatest gift was to create a standard of performance which demanded the very best from his team
2015 12 02 Retrieve
[Gary Neville talks about coaching Valencia] I am absolutely thrilled to be given this opportunity with Valencia. Valencia are a huge football club of immense standing and I know from my time as a player the passion and dedication of the Valencia fans. I am really looking forward to working with the club’s talented group of players and am excited about the challenge ahead [Note: Valencia is owned by Peter Lim, the Singaporean businessman who also has a 50% stake in Salford City which he co-owns with The Class of 92 - Gary and Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes]
[Neville thanked Sky saying] they have fully supported and understood the decision that I have made to go to Valencia for the next five months
2015 12 05 Retrieve
[Gary Neville on his appointment as Valencia coach] Sitting on television these last few years talking about coaches, the time has now come for me to stand up. This is a wonderful football club. I am precious about what I take on and what I associate myself with but if I had turned this down I could have said goodbye to my credibility. I have to prove myself, I have to show that people should not think I am a risky appointment. I have to provide the answers on the football pitch
2015 12 29 Retrieve
[on Sir Alex Ferguson] For us all to come together at Manchester United as a group but then have a manager who was willing to make a pathway through and get rid of all the experienced players … that takes a lot of courage for a boss. If you think about a boss in a law firm or an accountancy. The easiest thing for him to do is to go and get a headhunter in to get a 35 or 40-year-old proven, talented accountant or a talented lawyer. But the real challenge and courage is when a boss says, ‘no, actually I’m going to live with this 22 or 23-year-old who is actually developing and I can see something in him.’ And you get the results in the long term
2015 12 30 Retrieve
[on Sir Alex Ferguson] He never feels like he’s got to the top of the mountain. He always feels he has to go further and higher
2016 02 18 Retrieve
[on Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic’s Partnership] There’s an argument that Rio and Vidic need each other to be at their best [. . .] They are a fantastic combination, a great blend, with Rio’s wonderful all-round ability to see the game, to make interceptions and to play the ball in the tightest of spaces alongside Vidic getting in the way of everything. The bottom line is they have played in three Champions League finals together during the club’s golden period
2016 06 23 Retrieve
[on Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United] How he didn’t win Player of the Year in 2010/11 is beyond me. He was easily the most consistent, influential player in the league
2016 08 09 Retrieve
[Gary Neville talks about the Paul Pogba who was just signed by Man Utd] I think it is a big fee, but the Premier League was losing players left, right and centre to Spain - all the grade A players
We couldn’t entice players to come here and we couldn’t keep them when we had the best ones. At least now it looks like we are signing a player who would be regarded as a top signing of the summer
2016 09 24 Retrieve
[Gary Neville explains his confusion at Chelsea’s decision to re-sign defender David Luiz] I’m very surprised to see him with Conte as a manager. I think of Conte centre-backs, the last few years in Italy with Juventus, very solid, know how to play in a zonal system, dependable, and I think David Luiz is obviously a big talent. But I would have never of put those two together. There’s something bizarre about it. It’s a bit strange. I’m trying to think of an analogy to describe it. It’s a bit like me with a Miss World
2018 05 01 Retrieve
[Gary Neville on Harry Kane’s current performance] I don’t think he’s near his best. He’s not in the same situation he was. He said himself he’s not played his best in the last few weeks and some of his work [against Watford] was inconsistency
There were moments in the game where you thought he’s still coming back from an injury and not quite right, but there were parts of the game where the confidence was coming back. For instance, the composure to be able to sweep the ball home for his goal after just slipping as well, it takes some doing
[Gary Neville compares Harry Kane with Alan Shearer] He’s not the type of striker you drop because he offers too much. I always used to think about Alan Shearer when I was playing against him and with him all those years ago. He’ll have had moments in his game where he wouldn’t have been at the top of his game but you’d never consider dropping him because you know full well the guy is gold
Kane is like that. These are players that perform every single day at the highest level. It’s just about biding your time with him
He has dipped below his best in this last few weeks. He has been injured, to be fair, and there have been some issues around him off the pitch which are always a distraction, but he’s got to clear that up in this next two and three weeks because he’s obviously got a World Cup
If Tottenham can finish in the Champions League and Harry Kane can have a great World Cup then that will be fantastic for Tottenham but it will also be fantastic for England as well
[Neville thinks the social media storm has been a distraction for Kane] I’ve been really surprised and quite confused these past three or four weeks because - one, he’s intelligent, he’s a brilliant professional and [secondly] Spurs are a shrewd club. But the distraction that has been caused by the disputed goal, and then the social media thing that the FA did … the way in which it has been handled has been terrible
I always think that if you’re bothered by something the quickest way to get rid of it is not to add fuel to a fire. I think the way that they’ve responded has not been wise. I have to say that all these players have agents, lawyers, accountants, people around them that support them, family. They really should’ve gripped this situation for him. Told him to stand clear, take the sting out of it, but he hasn’t. If you show you’re bothered by something [on social media], they’ll go for you more
2018 10 01 Retrieve
[If Manchester United grandee Gary Neville is to be believed, the blame may not lie entirely at the feet of Jose Mourinho] It’s not the manager it’s the lack of football leadership above him. They are bouncing all over the place with no plan
2018 12 11 Retrieve
[Liverpool’s defence are breaking records after conceding just seven goals in 18 Premier League games] I didn’t see this coming. You can’t go from being a team that concedes 50 goals a season and then got to this without something incredible happening. It’s personnel, obviously, but also the work they are doing and their attitude towards defending. They were a soft touch and now they are a real team. It’s incredible really
2019 05 13 Retrieve
[Gary Neville’s not so cryptic response for Paul Pogba’s cryptic Instagram post ‘Caption this.’ shortly after Mourinho’s sacking] You do one as well
2019 05 15 Retrieve
[Gary Neville reaches his wits’ end with Manchester United] Nothing about this United team I like at all. They’re just awful
2019 05 24 Retrieve
[Gary Neville has credited Jose Mourinho and Louis van Gaal with buying into the home-grown principles which exist at Manchester United] It’s critical for United that we continue to do this. One of the great things over the last few years, which have been difficult years at the club, is you still see a lot of home-grown representation out on the pitch. When I was in Paris [for the Champions League win over PSG], you think about Mason Greenwood, Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira - players like that. Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard obviously weren’t playing that day but Marcus Rashford did. All these players have played this season and it is brilliant to see, particularly with the results that have been happening. Credit still goes to Jose Mourinho and Louis van Gaal as well, as they gave some of these players opportunities. Even in difficult times, the club continues to try to give opportunities to young players and promote players from the Academy. That isn’t always the case at other clubs.
2019 05 27 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says it is nothing new for the club to miss out on major talent in the transfer market] I think United can still attract top-end players because we’ve seen good players come to the club over the last six or seven years. This club will never move away from being a sensational football club, it will have difficult moments and it’s having a difficult time now. The money in the game now means you’re always in competition. The club has lost players when it’s been successful to Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich. It lost Robben to Chelsea in the mid-2000s, we lost Nasri to City, don’t always think that when Sir Alex Ferguson was here it didn’t happen.
This club lost players when it was successful to some of the biggest clubs in Europe that are competing with United. Don’t think that if United lose players now to Barcelona that this is the first time it’s ever happened, it’s happened before. It’s not because of the current plight, or the coach, or the manager, or the current players. It just happens sometimes. It happened during successful times too.
[Neville added that one of Solskjaer’s purported targets, Crystal Palace full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, is exactly the type of player United should be courting] He’s a massive talent and the club, to be fair, have always signed young, emerging British talent and I don’t think that should change, and it would seem to me that the club would like to go back down that route and he [Wan-Bissaka] is one. The price is always going to be big because clubs are wise now to it, you can’t pinch players off clubs for £5m or £6m. They are wise to it and have the Premier League funding of £100-odd million so they don’t need to panic, they don’t need extra £5m or £10m, they want £50m or £60m. As long as they sign the right talent, I’m always encouraged. I’m also encouraged by the fact that Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Scott McTominay are playing.
I’m encouraged by the fact the club are giving opportunities to young players, even in these times because for me that’s something that’s part of Manchester United’s history, it’s what Manchester United is. You just have to sign the right players and give them the platform to perform and the belief and opportunity. I’m not in a rush with Manchester United, I don’t have to see them be successful in the next 10 minutes. As long as the principles are right, play good football, bring the right players through, try and win as best you can, don’t give in, good attitude … and for me I can wait for two, three, four, five years for the club to be successful. It isn’t a problem for me. I lived through 20 years as a fan when I was growing up where the club wasn’t successful. I’m not in a rush I just want to see the right things happen and with Ole here as a coach there’s an opportunity for that to happen
2019 06 10 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Harry Winks must be a key player for England if they are to achieve international success] Currently we don’t have enough players who can have that look over their shoulder, see where they are and beat a man. The hardest thing in football is to beat a man with your back to play, but the very best players can do so. The midfield was not ideal against Netherlands. Declan Rice, Fabian Delph, Ross Barkley. That is not an international midfield, whichever way we look at it. I know everyone will look at the mistakes playing out from the back, but I think the midfield was the big problem in the game.
It wasn’t just a case of making bad decisions on the ball. We continuously found our defenders having that first look, that first touch, that second look, that second touch, that third look, that third touch. Look at the midfields who have been dominant in recent times in international football. The current French midfield - Matuidi, Pogba, Kante, with Griezmann dropping in. The Spanish midfield with Busquets, Iniesta, Thiago, Xavi. The German midfield of Kroos, Ozil, Schweinsteiger. They’re all rhythm and tempo players, they control the pace of the match. Gareth doesn’t have the players at his disposal. Harry Winks is a must moving forward; he was outstanding in the Champions League final, and looked a different level.
[Alexander-Arnold] holds the right-back shirt for England. I think Gareth Southgate has left the game on Sunday with his coaching staff and thought: ‘I know who my right-back is for next season’. We talk about John Stones being good on the ball, I actually think Maguire is the equal of him on the ball. A big statement, maybe, as Stones is seen as the composed, ball-playing centre-back, but I think Maguire is just as good on the ball
2019 06 13 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Harry Maguire is as good as John Stones when it comes to ball-playing centre-halves] If you think of the attributes of centre-backs, he has them in abundance. Leicester fans won’t thank me for this, but they’re going to be under real pressure to keep him this summer. We talk about John Stones being good on the ball, I actually think Maguire is the equal of him on the ball. A big statement, maybe, as Stones is seen as the composed, ball-playing centre-back, but I think Maguire is just as good on the ball
2019 06 22 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Manchester United will not be Premier League title challengers until at least 2021] There has to be a lot of change here. Without the change of some players it will not happen. It will not be possible for United to become a champion for the next two years
2019 06 23 Retrieve
[Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has questioned the mentality of players who court controversy via social media] Why would you do something that is potentially going to bring you criticism? As a player, you have to ask yourself a few questions before doing anything. Is it going to help me? Is it going to make me a better player? Is it going to make people feel better about me? Is it going to earn me money? Is it going to make my coach like me more or less? If the answers come up negative then it’s probably best not doing it. The idea of a guy going on social media, looking a bit of a prat while not winning football matches and not playing that well is a really bad cocktail. But then again, on the other side, he’s giving his all, he’s a young lad and social media is the modern form of media, so get over it.
We all make mistakes and I’ve made loads of them. Jesse Lingard doesn’t drink a lot. Twenty years ago, somebody going on a holiday would have been bladdered for four weeks. What’s worse - a social media post where somebody’s having a bit of a joke, or getting bladdered for four weeks? You’d rather have your player being sober, probably training all day and having a joke with his mates. This is absolutely a lesser evil than we had 20 years ago when players would go off for five or six weeks and come back overweight. These players today run faster, they eat better, they drink less alcohol. They’re all running 13, 14km a match, some of them are running 1500m at high intensity and 20 years ago Gary Neville and his team-mates weren’t doing that. That’s why I retired, because I was seeing it in front of my own eyes, that I couldn’t get to that level any more.
When we came through there was still a drinking culture Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday, every club was doing it. We stopped, we didn’t do it, and we won four out of our first five league titles purely based on fitness because the rest of the clubs were still drinking. Think of Liverpool and the Spice Boys, they didn’t get that nickname for nothing. They were still going out and drinking. We weren’t
2019 06 23b Retrieve
[Gary Neville believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must get rid of anyone who isn’t on board with the principles of Manchester United] When I was playing you always had three groups - the guardians, the middle group and the younger ones. When I started in the first team, there were players like Paul Ince and Roy Keane and one bad pass was regarded as an absolute crime.
Manchester United doesn’t have the guardians now. Absolutely not, no. There are some good professionals there, Juan Mata for instance, Ander Herrera, when he was there, and Scott McTominay - you can see he’s a good lad and wants to play football. But I don’t think they carry the influence in the dressing room to be able to dominate the culture and that’s a real problem. In any business, in any football team if the guardians in the dressing room, the ones who have the influence, are not setting the example, then you have a big problem and have to clear them out.
love Ole to bits. Whoever he feels is not aligned to the principles of Manchester United, he has to get rid of them. I remember when Mauricio Pochettino went to Tottenham, I went to see him and he had this board split in two - the ones he wanted to work with and the ones he didn’t. Look at Tottenham now. He did a brilliant job, along with whoever helped him on the recruitment side in the first two or three years. But he had to make some tough decisions and the club had to lose money to get it right and that’s what United will have to do
2019 06 25 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Manchester United ‘don’t have to keep’ Paul Pogba] They don’t have to keep any player. Manchester United are a better team when Paul Pogba plays but if players don’t want to be at the club - that doesn’t mean Pogba, he may want to be at the club - you have to get everybody onside and aligned with where you’re going. Ultimately, that’s the first thing Ole had to do - to work out who was going to be ready for the club moving forward. I’m still unsure on many players. I see the speculation on Sky Sports News and online and it looks like it could be moving all the time. You’ve got to get players in before you let them go because being armed with the money makes you vulnerable.
For United, it’s all about timing and manipulating and manoeuvring to a point where they know they’re going to get players in before letting some go. Otherwise they’ll become very easy to target in terms of people bumping the money up, which I’m sure they are already
2019 06 25b Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Manchester United find themselves ‘in the pit with the rest of the sharks’ when it comes to trying to lure top talents to Old Trafford] It’s difficult to do business, it’s not easy. Everyone knows Manchester United want players and price tags will go up. You’ve got to try and encourage players to come to the club. Players don’t just jump to sign for any club - they do their homework and get their agents to get to work. They probably have 50 meetings before they sign for a club nowadays. Manchester United will be in the pit with the rest of the sharks looking for the big signings.
It’s difficult for all clubs as they all want the same players. They all want Harry Maguire, every single club wants him. Everybody wants Christian Eriksen. Players that are being bandied about, there are four or five clubs in for them. They aren’t just going to sign for the first club, they’ll choose wisely and look at the different aspects. Manchester United have got a big job to do in order to get a squad right for a championship challenge. Hopefully that’ll start this summer but it’s not just bringing players in, it’s about getting some out
2019 08 08 Retrieve
[Romelu Lukaku is closing in on a move to Intermilan, with Gary Neville suggesting that Manchester United are taking the right decision on the player] He admitted he was overweight! He is over 100kg! He’s a Manchester United player! He will score goals and do well at Inter Milan but unprofessionalism is contagious
2019 08 09 Retrieve
[Belgium’s all-time leading scorer finished with 42 goals for United in 96 appearances - 16 more than nearest rival Rashford over the past two seasons. Despite those stats, Red Devils legend Gary Neville is happy to see Romelu Lukaku move on after expressing his displeasure with the striker’s attitude] He admitted he was overweight! He is over 100kg! He’s a Manchester United player! He will score goals and do well at Inter Milan but unprofessionalism is contagious
2019 08 10 Retrieve
[Gary Neville believes that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would like to move disruptive figures such as Paul Pogba off his books] I think there are three or four players at Old Trafford who have higher levels of quality that in a perfect world, Ole would probably like them all out at once. But actually, if they left it would weaken the team that badly it’d mean that they wouldn’t challenge for the Champions League etc. I think what Ole has to do is to get rid of one at a time. I think it’s a clever transition out of what has been a poor transfer strategy for the last four or five years. You can’t get out of it in one year, it’s going to take two or three years of good culture and tone, in terms of what they’re doing, to get out of what they’ve done. You can’t lose Lukaku, Pogba, De Gea, Anthony Martial all in one - you’d be absolutely decimated. The dressing room would be shot to pieces. You could maybe lose them over a period of two to three years if they wanted to leave
2019 08 11 Tweet
[Gary Neville has taken a swipe at Manchester United fans protesting the ownership of the Glazer family] From muppets on here who think something trending or an ex player having a go will move the owners out of the club !Owners don’t leave clubs unless they want to or are being hurt commercially . A bit of noise on here isn’t going to do a jot! It’s like a fly attacking an elephant!
[Clearly annoyed by the response, Neville’s next reply was more personal] Twitter warrior [who] represents the fans with all his heart, after claiming that he had cowered at the thought of giving his all for the club and was unprofessional whilst wearing the shirt
2019 08 11b Retrieve
[Gary Neville writes off Manchester United or Chelsea as contenders before their first ball of the season was kicked] Manchester United can’t win the title and I don’t think Chelsea can either. I think United would snap your hands off now if you offered them fourth. I think they are in a battle with Chelsea and Arsenal for that position. I think Tottenham, Liverpool and City are well ahead. Manchester United have got to start one block at a time. You can’t expect them to go from where they have been over the last seven years to winning the title
2019 08 12 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says ul Pogba remains Manchester United’s best player] I think Pogba did well and he played a brilliant pass through for Rashford’s goal. He can play better, but last season I said there were a number of players who were demonstrating week in, week out that they didn’t look like they wanted to be at the club and Paul was one of them. I said those players needed to be let go but definitely not all at once because they are probably the best players in the team. Ole is going to have to transition those players out of the club if they do want to leave. There is always speculation around Pogba and I don’t think it will go away, but if he can get his head down for this season and be the dominant force in midfield then he is Manchester United’s best player. There is no doubt about it. He wants to be in a winning team but can he make Manchester United a winning team?
2019 08 12b Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Manchester United have kept Anthony Martial out of fear of seeing him become one of the best players in the world elsewhere] Martial has not realised his potential on the left side for three or four years and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is probably thinking he wants to play centre forward, he’s a good finisher, I have to give him that chance. You could argue it’s to the detriment of Marcus Rashford, but if he can get his head around playing on the left and be comfortable and Martial can be a centre-forward then it’s worth giving him that chance. At Manchester United when there’s speculation around Martial leaving there’s been a big fear that he will go to another club and become one of the best players in the world because he has got that much talent. I think now is the time for Martial to deliver it. He is being given his chance as a centre-forward and scored a good goal
Harry Maguire looks secure and he looks strong. Every time the ball came near him in the air he won it and he never looked any different to how he was for England or Leicester. I think that was the main thing; coming here with a huge price tag in a big game as a Manchester United player for the first time it didn’t look like anything had changed. He has a really good temperament. The hope is that he doesn’t just do his job, but he is a catalyst for strengthening the whole team. The great centre-backs I played with didn’t just help themselves during the game, they also had a big impact on others. We have spoken about Virgil van Dijk doing that at Liverpool. It’s too early to say Maguire will make the same difference as Van Dijk, but there’s a chance. Manchester City wanted Maguire and Manchester United won him and they so needed him. A character, a personality, a leader, a dominant force, he will bring stability to the club for the next five or six years
2019 08 12c Retrieve
[Gary Neville admits that Manchester United remain a work in progress] Manchester United have to build block by block and wait a bit. They have to make sure they make the right decisions because every time you have a bad transfer window it takes two to unravel it and they have to stop doing that. This summer has been solid, if not spectacular, in the market. It’s a case of can Manchester United get a couple more signings in January and then two or three next summer and slowly rebuild what they want here, which is a team of players who want to be at the club and are committed and motivated and have the quality to challenge for the title. It’s never too far away. Pep Guardiola will leave Manchester City in the next few seasons, Jurgen Klopp might lose Mohamed Salah or another key player and then all of a sudden you have to be ready to step in and challenge if it’s there to challenge for.
Wan-Bissaka is young and has potential, and they needed Maguire, who is a personality and dominant force at the back. It’s the start of something. They will have to be patient. They have a new strategy, it’s probably the fourth in the last eight years, but stick with this one. Don’t keep going down a path and then ending up back at the roundabout and going down another path and doing the same thing. You have to stick with a strategy. There has been a lack of that in the last few years. It ended up being a brilliant day for Manchester United. I don’t think Ole will get too carried away. He will know it’s early but he will think it’s a big moment. United are building a new team and have Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Daniel James, Jesse Lingard and Scott McTominay, there is youth there
2019 08 13 Tweet
[How £80m Maguire has blown everyone away in first week at Man Utd] Top centre-backs don’t sweat, look calm, don’t spend time on their backsides, win headers, are composed on the ball, cover others and lead by example
2019 08 14 Retrieve
[Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville says he will not make a return to coaching] There is not one single part of me that wakes up and thinks ‘I want to be on the training field’. I had my foray into management in Valencia and it was probably one of the best learning curves I have ever had. It was a clip around the ear, sometimes you need one in life. I’m more interested in the boardroom or in the business side of things. The football side I love. I love watching matches but I just don’t want to be on the training pitch, I feel like I’ve done that part of my life and want to move on
2019 08 15 Retrieve
[Gary Neville believes Manchester United will lift the Premier League title again before rivals Liverpool do] I don’t sit here every day as a United fan and think my world’s ending. I just see it as a cycle. I grew up for the first 18 years of my life and I didn’t see a league title at Manchester United. And the next 20 or 25 years was glorious. It was like heaven. But now it’s tough. It genuinely does not concern me because it can be corrected by a little bit of money on the stadium and good decisions in the boardroom and good decisions in the recruitment department. What I’m saying is, Liverpool, City, Tottenham, all these clubs have had poor recruitment policies over the last 25 or 30 years at times. So United are going through one at the moment. Eventually they will stumble upon the right recruitment system, the right recruitment people, they’ll get a great manager - hopefully that’s Ole - and they’ll start to win again. That’s going to happen. I can guarantee you as clear as day, Manchester United will win again. They’ll probably win the league before Liverpool, in my opinion. And that’s not being disrespectful, they’ll probably win the league before Liverpool
[While Neville concedes Jurgen Klopp’s side will likely lift more silverware in Europe before the Red Devils, he believes domestically, United are closer to success] I think they’ll win a league before Liverpool. They’re more ripe, they’re closer than you think and it’s not as bad as you think. That’s always the way it is
2019 08 15b Retrieve
[Gary Neville agrees with Ed Woodward who block Jose Mourinho from signing Jerome Boateng from Bayern Munich] What the club have realised, what the Glazers have realised and probably what Ed Woodward has realised in the last 18 months is that they’ve stopped saying ‘yes’ to managers. Jose wanted to sign Boateng for £50 million. I probably would’ve blocked that myself if I was the owner of a football club. Bayern don’t let anyone go if they’re half decent. We’ve been burnt on Bastian Schweinsteiger, they didn’t want to pay the money for Harry Maguire at the time, I think the club are changing the policy with the same people
[Neville believes United’s transfer policy has become more structured] I think for the first time this summer, there is a profile of player that it looks like they’re going for. They announced at the end of the season that they were going to sign young players that were more fitting with what United would do in the past. I don’t disagree with what they’ve done this summer. Man United were never going to get the best player in the world or the top 10 best players in the world this summer, they weren’t going to come
2019 08 17 Retrieve
[Gabriel Jesus appeared to have sealed the three points for City when he fired past Hugo Lloris to make it 3-2, but the goal was disallowed after a VAR review found the ball had hit Aymeric Laporte’s arm on the way to a team-mate. Gary Neville says Premier League teams will need to get used to the shocks that VAR offers as the rules state a goal will be chalked off if it strikes a hand or arm in the build up regardless of intent] There was just disbelief, but we’re going to get more of that. It’s the first time I’ve seen VAR in the last minute of a game like that shocked everyone in the stadium, I know we saw it in the Champions League last season. It’s a matter of fact that if it hits the arm on a way to a goal, it will be disallowed so you could argue that it is right, there’s no doubt about that. The City fans are shocked
2019 08 19 Retrieve
[Manchester United missed the chance to make an early statement in the Premier League by drawing 1-1 at Wolves] Before he took the penalty I was fuming. However, we have looked back at the penalty last week that Rashford took against Chelsea, and Pogba had a long chat before. I don’t like it. Why is there a debate on who takes a penalty? Pogba has missed four in the last 12 months - so you would think he’s had his chance now. Rashford scored last week, [he should] take the penalty. But there wasn’t a leader on the pitch. Something is not right there. Initially. I was fuming with Pogba. Typical you (Pogba), you’re selfish. Why are you even thinking of taking a penalty off a player?
2019 08 19b Retrieve
[Gary Neville says he was ‘fuming’ to see Paul Pogba step up to take Manchester United’s spot-kick against Wolves] Before he even actually took the penalty, I was fuming. The only reason I’m holding back is because four years ago when Kevin Mirallas took it off [Everton team-mate] Leighton Baines I called it a despicable act. It’s treachery in football terms, taking a penalty off your team-mate. However, we look back at the penalty from last week that Marcus Rashford took against Chelsea, and Paul Pogba walked up to Rashford and they had a long chat. I’m not sure if Rashford took the one off Pogba last week and Pogba should’ve taken the one from last week, looking at what we’ve seen from the Chelsea game. But they had a long chat again. I don’t like it. Why is there a debate on who takes a penalty? There should never be a debate. There’s a penalty taker
Pogba’s missed four in the last 12 months. You’d think that he’s had his chance now. Rashford scored last week - take the penalty! But there wasn’t a leader out on the pitch. There’s Daniel James there, there’s Martial, they couldn’t make a decision between them. This is a Manchester United penalty. This is not a tombola. This is not under-5s on the playground. Something wasn’t right. Something’s not right there. All I’m holding back on is that initially I was fuming at Pogba, it’s typical you, you’re selfish, why are you even thinking of taking a penalty off a player? Actually, last week’s one when I’m looking at it against Chelsea, it’s weird. Something’s not right. We haven’t just come on air tonight saying, ‘which piece of analysis are you doing? Are you doing this one or am I doing this one?’ We decide before we come on. They should decide, in the dressing room, who is the penalty taker. It’s embarrassing
2019 08 20 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says he believes that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may be protecting Paul Pogba after the midfielder’s missed penalty caused controversy on Monday] [Confirmation of two takers] settles the initial anger I had of Pogba taking the penalty off Rashford. Because that was my initial thinking. Why’s he taking the penalty off Rashford? I hate that. They’re obviously organising between themselves on the pitch who takes the penalty. I don’t like it. I can understand having two penalty takers if one’s the penalty taker and the other is if there’s a substitution - to be fair, Marcus Rashford does get substituted, Pogba not as much but could get substituted. So I could understand that maybe you have a first penalty taker and a second.
I think the problem is that Pogba has missed four in the last 12 months. He will always be confident because he’s confident in his own ability. But if it’s been left to the players, surely the guy who scored last week is the person who should take the penalty. He scored last week. I think Ole’s telling us the truth. The only thing I would say is, he may be protecting Pogba. I don’t think he is, but he could be. The idea of him coming out and saying ‘Pogba’s taken it off Rashford’ would be disastrous for the dressing room. It would then be picked up by the media. He may just be doing that to protect them. I don’t think he is, but it could be that as well
2019 08 20b Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Alexis Sanchez has been a disaster for Manchester United] I welcomed him coming to the club as he’s a tenacious forward that plays across the line and scores goals. But it’s been a disaster. I have no idea what’s happened. There must be two of him. The one that played for Arsenal and Barcelona and then the one that’s turned up in Manchester. They need to get him out of the club. Romelu Lukaku didn’t want to be there. It’s a phased transition at the club. There’s four or five that don’t want to be there - he [Ole Gunnar Solskjaer] needs to get rid of a couple this year and a couple next year
[Neville believes moving the 30-year-old out is the best option] I like this team a lot more. I look at the team and they all want to be at the club - perhaps Paul Pogba has aspirations to leave the club and play elsewhere. But he’s settled down. It’s a team that’s got energy and youth - I like it. It’s not slow or boring. They are having a go. It needs two or three senior additions that will make them really good but if that team can grow together. They are not going to take over City in the next 12-18 months but when Pep Guardiola leaves City and if Liverpool don’t recruit as well as they have done, then Manchester United must be ready to pounce. And if this develops, they’ve got a big chance of doing something in two years’ time
2019 08 20c Retrieve
[Gary Neville is big fan of James Maddison and even went as far as comparing him to two Premier League greats] I think he’s outstanding. No 10s aren’t as fashionable nowadays, it’s more about wide strikers who score the goals. It used to be about the Gianfranco Zolas and Eric Cantonas, and he is a genuine creative player who will go on to play for England and be involved in the European Championship. I think he is fantastic
2019 08 20d Retrieve
[Gary Neville believes Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is as good a crosser of a ball as David Beckham] I like watching tactical games, close games, I have never really got overawed by watching an individual but De Bruyne mesmerises me. He is the type of player that is so good, he is world class, and for the first hour on Saturday it was stunning. His positions are always good. David Beckham and Steven Gerrard are two of the best crossers I have seen on the right side in the Premier League. He matches them in terms of the quality he delivers - and that is high praise. He does things that they did just as well
[Dropping deep to assist Raheem Sterling’s opener before racing forward for Sergio Aguero to score the second, De Bruyne’s ability to mix his play up caught the eye] On the first goal he drops back and then you are talking about the quality of the delivery and it is so special. The second goal is slightly different. He has got people covering the drop back so he goes the other way. He is intelligent and the timing of his movement is perfect. You are never in doubt that his cross is going to go exactly where he should do. For about an hour on Saturday he was unplayable and it took me back to playing with the best crosser of the ball I played with - David Beckham. Teams ordinarily tucked in narrow and tight but that tactic never worked against Manchester United. You had to get out and close him down and make sure he couldn’t get the ball out of his feet. Even from deep positions the crossing was out of this world. De Bruyne is repeating the level of quality and precision from that inside right channel that Beckham produced for United and that is not something I would see again in the Premier League for a long time
2019 08 22 Retrieve
[Gary Neville has praised Daniel James for his impact at Old Trafford] If he gets one-on-one it is obscene the pace he’s got. He makes six, seven, eight yards in the space of 25 yards. The big challenge for him is how does he cope when teams are playing deep, when there are five spread across the back
2019 08 23 Retrieve
[Gary Neville’s criticism of Paul Pogba being on penalty duty in Manchester United’s 1-1 draw at Wolves has been questioned by fellow 1999 Treble winner Andy Cole] I didn’t see Marcus kick up a stink about it so Marcus was comfortable about giving him the penalty. We are talking about Paul missing a penalty when the goalkeeper makes a very, very good save. I get on well with Gary Neville, but when people start talking about treachery and all that … come on, this is a sport. Let’s get real. We love football but when we start talking on those levels, he left me scratching my head a little bit. He didn’t do it on purpose. The goalkeeper made a very good save. Yes, Marcus scored a penalty against Chelsea the week before but if Marcus was comfortable and Paul was comfortable we have to get on with it and move on
[Cole believes Pogba will be hurting as much as anyone after spurning the opportunity to collect three more points for Manchester United] Of course it can affect you because we’re human. People think ‘ah, he’s earning all this money, he should be able to accept it and get on with it’. But it doesn’t work like that. Behind closed doors, it does hurt. You are no different to anybody else. You are human and when people say certain things about you, it bitterly disappoints you. There’s no doubt Paul will be bitterly disappointed. He is still smiling, still laughing but it hurts, definitely
2019 08 27 Retrieve
[Manchester United (1) vs (2) Crystal Palace. Gary Neville has insisted patience is the key for Manchester United] I think United are going to have moments like that in this period, there is going to be pain and there are going to be defeats that you can’t quite explain. Beating Chelsea emphatically on the first day, playing well at Wolves and could’ve won the game. Then, all of a sudden, you’re up against Crystal Palace and you lose at home - it’s quite mystifying. They’re the type of results you get when you’re trying to develop and change and transition out of one culture to another. All Man Utd have to do is remain patient and stick to what they’re doing
The most important thing about the transfer window for United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is that they don’t make mistakes, not that they do loads of business, but it’s about making sure they have the right type of players. It may seem like too far into the distance but I would suggest four or five transfer windows to get things absolutely right and get back to the type of squad he would want to challenge these Liverpool and Man City teams. I’ve said before, he’s got to be ready, not at the end of this season, not next season, but the one after, to challenge for the Premier League title. Potentially when Pep Guardiola has left Man City, or Liverpool have had another round of recruitment and another set of players in…Ole has got to be ready to pounce.
It’s a long-term thing, there’s not going to be a quick fix or magic wand from any manager. United have tried David Moyes, they’ve tried Louis van Gaal, they’ve tried Jose Mourinho, all proven and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is going down the long road, not the quick path. There’s no shortcut, there never is, and for me, it’s now about making it through these difficult moments, like losing to Crystal Palace and you feel like the world is going to fall in but people must remain patient. sI want to see the nonsense go, the speculation that players want to go, I want to see the disciplinary issues or the little tit-for-tat stuff over the last two or three years where there have been fall-outs, I want to see that go and the leaks. I want to see a team building slowly
2019 08 29 Retrieve
[It is undeniable that Sanchez has the talent. We have seen it over a period of many years from Italy to Catalunya to north London. But in Manchester he has looked like a shadow of his former self] It’s been a disaster. I have no idea what’s happened. There must be two of him: the one that played for Arsenal and Barcelona and then the one that’s turned up in Manchester
2019 09 01 Retrieve
[Gary Neville has urged Manchester United to sign players who want to play for the club. Lukaku hit back at the former Red Devils defender] He can talk about my fitness but he should never say anything about my professionalism, that I don’t work hard enough. That is something he cannot say. All the coaches I have had say the same thing about me
2019 09 01b Retrieve
[Gary Neville has urged Manchester United to sign players who want to play for the club] I’m delighted he’s left. I won’t be happy till everyone (sic) single one of them that think they are better and bigger than the club and don’t want to be here are gone! Nothing at all about his nationality or him not being a good player. He will always score goals
[He added in response to another tweet] I don’t care about 25, 10, 5 [goals per season] at the moment. We just need players that want to play for the club. Strip it back to that and then build a team. That’s what I want. It will take some time to do though so patience will be needed
2019 09 03 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Manchester City may live to regret their decision not to fight harder for Harry Maguire] I said a few weeks ago that I was struggling to understand why City didn’t follow through on Harry Maguire with Vincent Kompany leaving the club. I thought Kompany won them the league in the last 10 matches of last season when he played in all those games. Forget the Leicester moment which was just spectacular, I thought his leadership held them together at a time when Liverpool were applying pressure like you wouldn’t believe. In terms of that leader-type figure, I think Laporte has got that
I think this will cost City points. To be fair, there is no one better in the world at coaching than Pep Guardiola, full stop. And there is no one better at making what would be make-shift centre-backs play well. What I would say is that if Laporte is out for a long time, I think it will cost City points because he is a dominant centre-back. I saw him in Spain three times and he’s a great player. It’s a real worry for City. Maguire would’ve been ideal. Manchester United did well to get him but I am surprised City didn’t really go for him alongside United. Maybe they did and they just pulled out because of the money in the end or whatever it was. I just think with Kompany leaving, he was Belgian, but he was an old-fashioned throw your head at it centre-back in both boxes that when you go to certain grounds in the Premier league you play. When balls flew into the box and the pressure-built, Vincent Kompany stood tall and made sure they all left
2019 09 04 Retrieve
[Gary Neville feels that his former club are on the right track under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer despite several disappointing results this season] There is an element of frustration from United fans because of where the club have been. There’s still that recent history of big success under Sir Alex Ferguson but there’s been six or seven years now since that. There’s now an element of frustration building, real frustration, that they are not on the right track. I think they are on the right track because the first thing United have to do, they have to have a group of people in that changing room that want to be there. Forget how talented they are. Sir Alex Ferguson came down from Aberdeen in 1986 and he got rid of some of the most talented players in the squad in an attempt to change the culture
[Neville has insisted that Solskjaer must be given time and that he is instilling the right principles in his players] Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is trying to play the long game. It does take time. Solskjaer is working more with a squad like the one Klopp picked up at Liverpool than the one Guardiola inherited at City. From that point of view this is going to be a long game at Old Trafford and it’s going to be frustrating at times. There are going to be results like Southampton, Wolves and Crystal Palace along the way, but when you watch the team a lot of the principles are correct. They seem to be playing the right way. You see Daniel James score that goal and you see the way in which they are trying to play. The style of it is right. The bones are there but there’s still a very long way to go, and it’s going to be bumpy along the way
2019 09 06 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Pogba needs to become Man Utd’s new Bryan Robson] Paul Pogba is now the obsession, because he’s the biggest player at the biggest club, he’s a World Cup winner and it should be a compliment that people are talking about it. When I criticised Paul Pogba after the penalty incident at Wolves, I don’t see it as being any different than the criticism of Roy Keane or David Beckham or Wayne Rooney. The best player, the leader, the captain in the team, will stand up and he will take the brunt of the criticism. Just as the manager will and the coach will. It won’t be the assistant coach, it won’t be the left winger or the right-back or the left-back, it will be the player who is the number one player in the team and that’s never changed
I speak to people, apparently he’s a great lad, he trains well, he’s a really good person - to be fair, I was at the club with him when he was a young lad. So when people criticise him or put the pressure on him or apply the pressure to him, it’s because he’s the best, he’s the shining light. He’s the Bryan Robson of the 80’s now. United were in trouble, people hung everything on Bryan Robson, everybody now hangs a lot on Paul Pogba. But that’s the pressure that he wants, he wants to be the best player in the world. So now go and show us you’re the best player in the world.
Carry this team, which is young, inexperienced, hasn’t got the most know-how, needs leaders and characters on the pitch. And I said two weeks ago on television, wouldn’t it be great if he thought of himself as being the Player of the Year this year. What does he need to do that? Carry Manchester United into the Champions League, win the Europa League, drive them forward. Take it as your responsibility, you’re at this club for 12 months and you’re going to be the best player in the league and one of the best players in the world. That’s what I want from Paul Pogba, that’s what I want from him because I believe he’s capable of doing it. I have faith in him to do it. But then I see an incident like Wolves, and that disappoints me. So he has to take the criticism for that
2019 09 16 Retrieve
[Gary Neville has admitted he’d ‘run a mile’ if he was ever offered the role of manager at Manchester United] There is an element of frustration from United fans because of where the club have been. There’s still that recent history of big success under Sir Alex Ferguson but there’s been six or seven years now since that. There’s now an element of frustration building, real frustration, that they are not on the right track. I think they are on the right track because the first thing United have to do, they have to have a group of people in that changing room that want to be there. Forget how talented they are
2019 09 16b Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Paul Pogba wants to leave Manchester United] He wants to leave. He has made it clear. His agent, Mino Raiola, is a disgrace and has been a disgrace all over Europe - not just for Manchester United. They must stop working with him
He doesn’t have the values you want in your club. My opinion is that Manchester United need not negotiate with him. He will try to fix a transfer for his player, and will try to take part of the transfer sum himself. That’s how he operates. For Manchester United, it’s devastating. He [Pogba] is one of the best and most famous players in the world, but every week there are new issues. There is always controversy. It’s probably not his own fault, but the fact is that it is devastating for a club. That’s why Sir Alex Ferguson was at times clinical when he got rid of players. They were devastating. In a football club, everyone has to go in the same direction
2019 09 17 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Manchester City’s centre-back partnership of Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones will cost the club the Premier League title] Guardiola gave up on this partnership 18 months ago when Laporte came to the club. Otamendi always gets caught out as a centre-back and quickens up the opposition in attack. He’s so not a Pep Guardiola type centre-back, they’re usually composed but he’s rash. Sir Alex Ferguson at times during his Manchester United career would see a game too far with players and say, ‘That’s it, you’re done’. Manchester City’s 4-3 defeat at Liverpool in 2018 was the game when Guardiola decided that Stones and Otamendi couldn’t play together. Laporte’s injury, Kompany leaving and not replacing him is a big problem for Manchester City. Stones and Otamendi have played 25 games under Guardiola in the Premier League. They’ve conceded more goals than any other partnership, conceded more goals per game, the clean sheets are down, the three-plus goals conceded is well up and then there’s the big one, lower win percentage. That will cost Manchester City the Premier League title. If these two play together at their current rate of performance they won’t win the league
[Neville believes Guardiola will look for a solution to City’s defensive flaws] He has always surprised us, he has always shocked us, he has always done what would be unexpected. Pep Guardiola doesn’t accept what he has, he always tries to come up with new systems. I can see that Pep Guardiola is not just going to sit back over the next three months. Already in the back of his mind he will be thinking that he needs a plan B here that can give them domination of the ball and defensive stability. He won’t do this because Pep Guardiola will never do what we expect, but he has played a back five before. I know the boy Joao Cancelo pretty well, I had him at Valencia. He can play right wing-back perfectly and Oleksandr Zinchenko is suited to wing-back. Walker has played in a back three for England and Otamendi has two people to cuddle him. That is a potential option, but at the moment I think he is thinking of a plan B
2019 09 17b Retrieve
[Gary Neville believes Manchester United need to sign three players to create a better spine at the club, naming Raphael Varane, [N’Golo Kante](n-golo-kante.html) and Kylian Mbappe as the ideal trio] Manchester United, somehow, have got to find a spine. Look at Liverpool. Fabinho, Alisson, Virgil van Dijk, Roberto Firmino, unbelievable players, same with Manchester City’s spine. My thing at the moment is how do Manchester United recruit, in the next 12 to 18 months, a spine that will help United’s younger players? Years ago, United’s spine were players like Steve Bruce, Gary Pallister, Peter Schmeichel, Roy Keane, Andy Cole, Eric Cantona. The spine of that team is immense. The problem with United’s team now, is not the younger players on the pitch. The spine of the team is Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata, Ashley Young and David de Gea. Who knows what the likes of Andreas Pereira, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James will become, they need a spine. If Manchester United get the right three players in amongst that squad, they won’t be far off. It can be done
[Neville pleases to see De Gea commit to fresh terms through to 2023] I’ve got to believe it’s good news. He’s had a difficult time in the Premier League. When players are distracted it doesn’t help. He’s lost his place in the national team and made more mistakes for Manchester United than ever before. But now he’s signed you hope that settles him down and he starts performing. Manchester United need a spine. They haven’t got a strong, dominant spine. De Gea can be the start of that. But his performances have dipped recently
2019 09 17c Retrieve
[Gary Neville says no-one could have foreseen the failure of Alexis Sanchez at Old Trafford] We’ve watched Alexis Sanchez before during his years at Arsenal, he’s tenacious, a goalscorer, giving his all every single minute of every game. No-one could have foreseen the disaster that was about to happen with Alexis Sanchez. I don’t know what happened to him. That wasn’t the Alexis Sanchez that played at Arsenal. He wasn’t old when United signed him. He’d been proven
[Intermilan could not afford to take on his sizeable salary, so the Red Devils are paying for a player that they cannot call upon. That is considered to be another indicator of just how badly the move for the ex-Arsenal star has gone] We knew United would get only a couple of years out of him, I know his wages were massive. But my point is, no-one could have foreseen how bad he would be for the club
2019 09 17d Retrieve
[Gary Neville admits it is unacceptable for Manchester United to be setting targets below becoming champions] Top four and winning a trophy would be a successful season. That’s where Manchester United are at. That is unacceptable in terms of where United need to be, but they are incapable - after six or seven years of poor recruitment - of going from seventh, sixth or fifth into first. They are nowhere near that at this moment in time. They are going to have to have three or four good transfer windows. The most important thing in the last window wasn’t just adding two or three players of the right type, it was making sure they didn’t make any further mistakes. I don’t think they’ve done that. I think Man Utd this season would be stronger with Ander Herrera, Marouane Fellaini and Romelu, but in the long term, they won’t be because those players will never get Man Utd where they need to be.
Of course, Man Utd have to win the Premier League title. That has to be the barometer and should never change, but you can’t go from not liking the team with average football to winning the league. There’s a step in the middle of getting better football, liking the team and then you can start moving up. I think being on the right track this season is more important than fifth, fourth or third. People have to start liking the team again
I actually think United have taken a step backwards but a step in the right direction to go forwards because enough is enough of all these 30-year-old players coming in, not suiting the style. They’ve got to stop that because it’s not worked for the club. What I’m saying is they’ve changed direction. Whether you like it or I like it, it’s a change of direction. In Daniel James, Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, they’ve got younger players who have hopefully got a future at Manchester United for the next 10 years. The three of them have started well. There’s a sense that Manchester United have got young players - are they good enough or are they not? I look at the young players in the team against Leicester and there’s Wan-Bissaka, Andreas Pereira, Scott McTominay, James and Marcus Rashford. I say to myself are they good enough? At this moment in time, no. They’ve still got to prove themselves. They all look promising and they are working at their maximum in every single match
2019 09 17e Retrieve
[Gary Neville not sure West Ham midfielder Declan Rice is worth £90 million] I mean you talk about £80m, £90m to get him out of West Ham. We’ve seen a bid for Wilfried Zaha go to Everton this year for £70m. To get players out of the likes of West Ham now, Crystal Palace, it is not going to be easy. It is going to cost a fortune. Would I say yes now at 80 million, 90 million? I’m not feeling that personally at this moment in time, but am I seeing a really good player who could potentially develop into something fantastic for the next 10 years? Yes. I really do think that. But do United need another player? They’ve already got Nemanja Matic, they’ve already got [Scott] McTominay who are doing a similar role to what I see Rice doing.
You talk about England, World Cups and European Championships, Premier League, Fabinho is absolutely sensational on the ball, Sergio Busquets is unbelievable on the ball. I think Fabinho at the moment is the best because what Fabinho does actually, he doesn’t sit back in games. These holding midfield players who just play horizontally, passing sideways, shuttling across, but Fabinho plays vertically as well. He goes forward with his passes, he moves forward and steps in and wins the ball back. I think the best holding midfield players aren’t just people who basically shuffle across and make it look simple, they also step into the game. It’s the ability of knowing where you are with your back to play. I played the odd game in midfield and it was awful, even when I was full-back and I ended up in midfield just out of position sometimes and someone plays a pass into you, you think, ‘Oh, what’s behind me?’. The great players they know what’s over their shoulder, they receive it on the half turn, they take the ball to the right side when there’s a player coming from the other side
2019 09 22 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Manchester United need to invest a few hundred million pounds in the squad if they are to compete for major titles again] Ole needs three or four transfer windows to get this squad up to a level where they can compete. And he needs a few hundred million quid - you can’t back out of that. The days when you could pinch someone in the transfer window have gone. This is not going to be easy
I’ll say it again: nearly £900 million. You have to ask yourself how much more money Manchester United need to spend to get themselves back to where they want to be
[Neville argue They may be one of Europe’s biggest spending clubs in recent years, but the absence of a natural striker to take Rashford’s place shows that their recruitment strategy is deeply flawed] Mason Greenword, Anthony Martial and Rashford - all injured. Lingard is now centre-forward for Manchester United. You look at that spend, over the last six or seven years, of £900m - just a little less than Manchester City - and this is what they’ve ended up with? It’s incredible, £900m is a hell of a lot of money to have no centre-forwards
2019 09 24 Retrieve
[Gary Neville believes the club’s class of 2019-20 will prove that ‘you don’t win anything with kids’] I pointed out on Sunday [during a 2-0 defeat at West Ham] at the £900m that has been spent in the last seven or eight years, and there’s nothing left of it really. There are the bones of a squad, some young players from the academy that haven’t cost that money. Potentially David de Gea, who is struggling. There’s Harry Maguire but there’s a lot more rebuilding to do. I’ve said many times that Alan Hansen was right, you don’t win anything with kids. The Class of ‘92 didn’t win that Premier League title. We had Steve Bruce, Gary Pallister, Roy Keane, Eric Cantona, Brian McClair and Peter Schmeichel. We had world-class performers and two of the best centre-backs ever. Keane was the most inspirational captain and leader, Cantona was world class, Schmeichel was the best in the world and Denis Irwin was brilliant. They pulled us through it. If the Class of ‘92 had gone into this team, we would have had no chance
[He has now reiterated that, with it his opinion that the Red Devils require more serious investment in order to get their squad up to standard] I’m not panicking as a fan. I’m frustrated but not panicking. What I would say is they have to quickly and efficiently identify three or four players to go alongside De Gea and Maguire. They need a couple of midfield players, they need a striker to carry the front line, they need a wide player and they need a left-back. You can’t kid football fans. There are five or six players required
2019 09 24b Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Manchester United can no longer pinch players off other clubs like they did with Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand] If Crystal Palace can turn down £80m for [Wilfried] Zaha, United can’t just go in like they did 10 years ago and bully teams. They can’t just pinch players off other clubs like they did with Wayne Rooney at Everton, Rio Ferdinand and Leeds and Michael Carrick off Tottenham. These teams won’t sell anymore unless the number is astronomical. If the right player comes up, they are just going to have to go and get them because it’s been proven: buy badly, buy twice. Maguire is a ‘buy once’ sort of signing - I think he’s the type of player who will be at Man Utd for five or six years. You can build around him. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer mentioned before the game [against West Ham] about him potentially being captain. But they have to find players who want to come to the club and are hungry, but who can raise the quality and experience and know-how, to support the young players but also the management team
Your job as an owner or board is to supply the manager with players who can win and Manchester United have not done that for eight years now. They’ve put the money in but they’ve not put the strategy around it. If they’d have had the methodology eight years ago of stick to young, emerging English players, they’d probably be in a good place now, but they jumped off the David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho tracks. They can’t jump off the Solskjaer track. They have to support the manager and find a way of signing players. They had the best manager in the world in Jose Mourinho and he couldn’t get where he wanted to be. Louis van Gaal, an experienced manager at Barcelona and Ajax, couldn’t. They must stick with the plan. There will be frustrations along the way. Take a deep breath, take the criticism, but it will take time and it’s not a quick fix
2019 09 29 Retrieve
[Gary Neville thinks Manchester City will have to dip into the January transfer market to sign defensive cover if they are to challenge for European and domestic glory] You have to think that City will spend in January. I saw this morning that Guardiola said they didn’t have any money. Well, they’ve got more than everybody else. They bought Aymeric Laporte in January a year and a half ago, and I feel they’re going to have to do the same again. This won’t be good enough for the Champions League or the Premier League. Guardiola will know it, he knows the standard more than anybody
[Neville is clear that none of City’s available defenders is a replacement for former club captain Vincent Kompany, on or off the pitch] They’ve set limits and perhaps it’s not so much the fee, but the wages that will be demanded to attract the right kind of player, which is making the Manchester City hierarchy nervous and stay within a structure. But with Vincent Kompany going it leaves a huge void, not just on the pitch but off it. There aren’t too many players like him around, and he’s difficult to replace
2019 10 06 Retrieve
[Gary Neville thinks Manchester United would have fared better with Marouane Fellaini up front in their dismal 1-0 defeat at Newcastle on Sunday evening] Away from home, they’re not set up to win in a sense of the mentality. They let games drift, I think they play OK in games, but they’re not ruthless, they’re not clinical. The quality is not right, the depth of their squad is not good enough and they have taken a step back. He would have been better off today with Fellaini up front, or Romelu Lukaku or Alexis Sanchez - there’s no doubt
[With Anthony Martial out of contention and Marcus Rashford struggling, it was left to teenage substitutes Tahith Chong and Mason Greenwood to make an impact] They’ve ended the game there with six young players on the pitch. So they would be better with those players [Fellaini, Lukaku or Sanchez] on the pitch. But Ole made a decision that those players aren’t going to get the club where they need to be in the long term
2019 10 06b Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Manchester United will have a lot of painful moments this season] I made the point last year when Jose Mourinho wanted to sign players, whether they were right or wrong, who was saying no to him? Who is qualified up above him to say no? Who’s making those decisions? There are going to be a lot of these inquests this season. There will be more difficult games - they have Liverpool at home in two weeks’ time. United will have a lot of painful moments this season, a lot of hard moments. There will be lots of those. We can have these inquests but the end solution is they have to recruit well to a certain style of play and stick to it. They can’t do anything else
They can’t rush it, they can’t circumvent the process of the transfer windows, you can’t get the players you want in January because other clubs don’t let them go. You have to work as hard as possible to make sure that they get high quality players into the club and get the players out that remain in that dressing room that don’t want to be there, and do it as quickly as possible. It’s not a quick fix, it has to be done methodically. I hope that, because of the poor results, they don’t come off the path that they are on, which is to develop a young, progressive team. But they do need some experience in there and it is needed badly
They need another five or six. They need a centre-back, they need a right-back, they need two central midfield players, they need a wide player and they need a top centre-forward. They need five or six top players in that squad and they are going to cost a lot of money. Man Utd are now getting the pain they deserve for poor decisions at board level. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to make sure that the clean-up job that he is doing, he needs to make sure that he gets the £250 million to spend that the others have so that he gets an opportunity. If they recruit well in the next three or four transfer windows, they’ve got the bones of something. If they recruit badly, they’ll end up suffering
2019 10 20 Retrieve
[Gary Neville was in the United team that day and believes his old club’s first-half display suggests a repeat result is possible] This has got that feeling of that Arsenal ‘Invicibles’ game where you get the crowd up, things are happening. Jurgen Klopp can’t believe it and it will be mayhem in this ground in the second half. Klopp has to get his team into the dressing room and settle them down
2019 10 20b Retrieve
[Former United defender Gary Neville felt Rashford benefited from some time away from the Red Devils during the international break] I thought he looked beat two weeks ago. I felt he needed to come out of the team. The international break has done him good. He looked like himself. He’s still young. Players have to develop. United have to make a decision - they have to buy but not necessarily at the expense of Marcus Rashford. Of course he needs help
2019 10 20c Retrieve
[Though United got a credible draw against Liverpool, Gary Neville believes that they need to spend in the winter transfer window] United need to go into the transfer market at the earliest opportunity because they obviously didn’t replace Lukaku. Those young lads out there - Andreas Pereira, Scott McTominay, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Marcus Rashford - they have to still buy to a style of play. There would be no point signing a replacement for Lukaku that’s the same type. I don’t feel they want to play that way. They have to sign a striker to suit their style. Liverpool play with three mobile strikers - with Firmino who does a brilliant job. You can find a striker that would fit the style of play
2019 10 22 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Manchester United want a striker like Roberto Firmino or Heung-min Son] I look at Firmino when he first came to England, I look at [Mohamed] Salah when he was first at Chelsea, I look at [Sadio] Mane. Sometimes players have to develop into what they are going to become. I think United want a striker like Firmino, like Son at Tottenham. I think [Solskjaer] wants that type of player. I don’t think he wants a typical striker who is basically going to be a Lukaku or a Costa. I don’t think he’s looking for that type. I think he’s looking for a more mobile type in a front three or a front two
I think this club has always had strikers who can play in pairs, who contribute off the ball. I’ll make a point about Ruud van Nistelrooy. We won less championships with him at centre-forward than when we brought Louis Saha in to partner Wayne Rooney. He was nowhere near as good a finisher as Ruud or as good a striker as Ruud, but the team became better. And that’s my point, I don’t think Ole wants a striker like that; I think he wants a mobile striker
[Liverpool are considered to be the blueprint in the present for working without a standard No.9, with Jurgen Klopp having set his stall out quickly upon taking the reins at Anfield when he took the decision to offload Christian Benteke] He just chucked Christian Benteke out the club because he didn’t suit his style of play. Ole’s done the same with Lukaku, and Lukaku is a far better player than Benteke. Ole is not going to sign a striker just because he scores goals, because Lukaku would have done that
2019 10 26 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Brendan Rodgers should be in the picture to replace Pep Guardiola at Manchester City] I think if you look at what he achieved at Liverpool and then Celtic and now what he is doing at Leicester, we always talk about international coaches having philosophies and values, but he improves teams and plays great football. He is quite innovative and he does seem to be a great coach, the players enjoy working with him, and I’m asking the question now, why wouldn’t he be seen as a coach of one of the big clubs? You look at Manchester City changing to Pep Guardiola and you probably won’t see Brendan Rodgers’ name linked with that job because people at the club will be thinking, maybe, someone else.
People say he hasn’t won that much silverware but then people talk about Mauricio Pochettino really highly. He’s not won silverware in England and then people don’t speak as highly of Brendan Rodgers - I know Pochettino got to a Champions League final. So in Brendan Rodgers’ view - if he gets the top four this season - he should now be linked with the very best jobs in English football
2019 10 27 Retrieve
[Gary Neville identifies Dele Alli as a key part of Tottenham’s fall from grace this season] Dele Alli, I thought was a young Roy Keane in terms of his mentality when I first started working with him with England. [Sunday’s display] is an absolute poor version of Dele Alli. He’s been like that for 12 months and he’s got to sort himself out now because I think a lot of people think a lot of him, and I think a lot of him, but it’s not good enough and he’s got to get his mentality back. He needs to hear these words. I think he’s man enough to take it
2019 10 27b Retrieve
[Gary Neville has argued over whether Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen would improve Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team] Yeah, [United would] take him tomorrow. I think he would [improve them]. What you’re seeing at the moment with Eriksen is a player who is not buying into what’s happened. He’s disinterested. He’ll just switch it back on again when he goes to another club. Will Manchester United take him? Will PSG take him? Will Juventus take him? Free? Yes, they will, for free, they will
2019 10 30 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Football’s governing bodies aren’t doing enough to combat racism so players should take matters into their own hands by walking off the pitch] It is quite clear that FIFA and UEFA, and you can even argue in this country within the FA, that we have just not got it right at all in terms of the punishments on racism. If you started to fine countries millions of pounds then I think you would start to see what would be significant action. There needs to be significant pain brought towards anybody and everything that essentially … every act of racism should be punished heavily. At the moment £65,000 and a couple of games is not impacting the situation at all
[The game’s governing bodies still seemingly reluctant to take firm action against racists] I personally now have got to the situation whereby I would welcome, support, a football team walking off the pitch. I would expect if England were punished for that, other big nations and all nations essentially in Europe to support England and withdraw from the competition. That is going to need to happen. People will say [to walk off] is dangerous territory but the reality of it is some of the greatest changes that have been stimulated in the history of society have been individuals being brave.
We have got some really brave young individuals within that England squad who are not going to take it anymore. UEFA are not doing enough. Are any of us doing enough? It is happening in our country, it is happening on our soil and are we tough enough on it? The answer is no. Banning countries from a tournament - I do not think that is the correct way to go. But I do think large, heavy, really significant fines - millions and millions of pounds and the closing down of stadiums and making them play behind closed doors is the right way to go. If it persists from a point of view beyond that then you could start to think about potentially removing teams from a tournament
2019 10 30b Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Granit Xhaka doesn’t learn from his mistakes and will struggle to repair his relationship with Arsenal fans] I struggle with Xhaka full stop, I’ll be honest with you. I just think his discipline - ill-discipline - and his performances generally over a period of the last two or three years. I’ve never seen a player who seems to learn less from his experiences than Xhaka. He makes, it must be 400 mistimed challenges a match, he essentially gets booked in every single game I watch him. I don’t watch him every game, but every game I do watch, he gets booked. He doesn’t seem to set the tone for his team-mates with his performance levels, so what happened on Sunday doesn’t surprise me, because I think ill-discipline is ultimately - he’s been riddled with it, for the last few years
He does give his all, he’s committed, there’s no doubt about that. But he’s the least experienced, experienced player I have ever watched. He’s rash, I don’t know why he doesn’t pick up on this. On Sunday - I think it can happen, I’ve got no great problem with this idea of taking on your fans, a bit of tension. It’s never great, it’s not healthy but, in football, sometimes that can happen. I have a bigger problem watching him with his performance levels, the way in which he performs and doesn’t carry his team on the pitch.
I think those little disputes can happen, I’ve seen them at Manchester United over the years where you can get those little bits of fire that can occur every so often but he’s having a poor time and ultimately I think it will be very difficult for him to continue wearing the armband. It wouldn’t surprise me if Unai Emery sorts it out with him, but I think it would be very difficult to patch it up quickly with the fans. He will have to apologise heavily to them
2019 11 01 Retrieve
[Gary Neville warns Man Utd boss Solskjaer that pressure is close] There has been a mini-revival, but I don’t think Ole will be sat comfortable in his chair. I think he realises he is one game away from the clouds circling again. Ole is looking up the table rather than look down, so it’s an important game.
[Neville admitted to being worried about United prior to the Liverpool match] As a United fan, I went into the Liverpool game panicking. I was thinking this could be a bad day, this could get moody in the stadium, Liverpool are a great team and they could go 3-0 up - but United played really well. Ole had been questioned tactically but he got it right on the day and that was the start of this little run they’re on, beating Partizan and then the Norwich win was big. I don’t think they would have been capable of going to Norwich and winning pre the international break. That Liverpool game gave them a little bit of confidence to think: ‘We’re better than this, let’s be positive and beat Norwich
2019 11 06 Retrieve
[Manchester United legend Gary Neville admits modern footballers are perceived differently to their predecessors but says Granit Xhaka must be willing to accept fan criticism] All’s fair in love and war. [In games] against Liverpool they were singing about my mum. I wasn’t happy but it didn’t bother me. I was booed for 12 months for England as a Manchester United player, but you just accept it as part of the game. Look at what’s happened with the targeting of black players, people think that anything goes. We have to stop that. The fines for Bulgaria were unacceptable. There is change happening. Football should be a pioneer for change, but overall football is a safer place to watch, there are more families. The games are fantastic football matches. We have the best football in Europe at the moment. There are so many positives
[Neville, co-owner of League Two side Salford City, thinks the eye-watering figures have contributed to fans feeling disenfranchised] Football players are perceived differently now. [The treatment of] Xhaka was not down to cost or rising prices, that’s always happened, but it doesn’t get away from the fact that fans are being left behind.
2019 11 11 Retrieve
[Gary Neville admits the success being enjoyed by Liverpool at present is worse than a funeral for Manchester United and their loyal army of supporters] It’s as painful as it gets. I have worn all black today with a black tie as well. It was a funeral match today, it was worse than a funeral. This is my funeral and you are witnessing it as we speak. Manchester United fought for 20-odd years to get a title back and keep it away from Liverpool, the one club that can compete with United in terms of global fanbase, scale, tradition, history, success. If they get a Premier League title under their belt, they become a real power. In football, when a group of fans love a manager, love a group of players and you see that triangle of the manager, players and fans coming together, it’s so powerful. It’s a spirit that’s difficult to break
It’s painful to watch because this Liverpool team have a lot of the qualities from the Manchester United teams I was part of; winning games late, that never-say-die attitude, looking desperate every single time to win the ball back, celebrating every goal like it’s the last goal they will ever score. As a Manchester United fan it’s awful to be at Anfield watching it, but you have to respect it. I watch football all the time and you see teams that are struggling to connect with their fans, or managers. We must recognise when a team is very good, and this Liverpool team is very good
2019 11 11b Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still needs to sign four or five players in order to turn Manchester United into serious trophy contenders once again] Look, Manchester United need four or five players with real quality and experience. They need another centre back, they need a left-back and a couple of central midfielders and a striker or a forward. That’s not going to change and won’t change entirely even after January. But there’s something there
It’s been a really good month for Manchester United barring the Bournemouth defeat. That game was frustrating and took us back a few steps but generally it’s been a better month than the one before. You can see some real excitement with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood and Daniel James, there’s something to work on there. Defensively, with Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, there’s something to work on there too. The young boy Brandon Williams gives me a great deal of hope
2019 11 12 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Gareth Southgate has made the right decision to drop Raheem Sterling after his confrontation with Joe Gomez] I’ve been involved in quite a few of these things over the years with England and there is no right or wrong in a way, in the sense that I’ve seen managers sweep it under the carpet, and try to keep a low profile on these sorts of things. I’ve also seen managers go public, as Gareth has. What I would say is that the decision that Gareth has made… I feel like it’s the right one without knowing the detail of what’s gone on.
There’s nothing worse than sweeping it under the carpet, and then all the players going back to their own rooms they all share together, and having that feeling that they’re all talking about you being weak, and that you’ve not dealt with it because he’s a big player and [you have] shied away from a big decision. So I feel that it’s the right decision. Ultimately, if it’s an incident that’s happened in front of the rest of the squad that couldn’t be dealt with internally and there was a breach of discipline then the manager has to act
2019 11 16 Retrieve
[Manchester United legend Gary Neville is not convinced that a Saudi billionaire would be the answer for the Red Devils and says the Glazer family will only sell when they want to] What is the alternative [to the Glazers]? It (the club) is either going to go to a Russian family, Chinese family, Asian family, a Saudi Arabian family. If it gets sold for £3 billion, it is going to be basically people who have £15-20 billion. What are they going to be like? Human rights issues of countries I’ve just mentioned. There is no ideal here
Some people don’t believe [City owner] Sheikh Mansour is a good owner of a football club because of the human rights issues in Abu Dhabi, others would say they have been the most incredible owners. They have invested into Manchester, into the stadium, into the team. I can see both sides of the story, but what I can see is the amazing impact they have made over that side of the city
[He added on the Glazers, who took control of United in 2005 and plunged the club into huge debt] My biggest problem with the Glazer family over the past seven years is the [fans’ anti-Glazer] green and gold campaign 2004-06 where Manchester United weren’t successful. Arsene Wenger came in with the Invincibles [at Arsenal], Jose Mourinho came in [at Chelsea], that’s when there was a real hostility [towards the Glazers]. All of a sudden in 2006 to 2012, where we were getting to three in four Champions League finals, and winning trophies, it went quiet. Then in 2014-15 when we started to get into a period of non-success again, it builds up again. The idea of screaming about the Glazers every ten minutes, saying they are not good owners of Manchester United, doesn’t get us anywhere. I’d love owners that pump every penny back into the club on to the pitch, that didn’t take out £20 million a year, or whatever they take out in debt against the club. But I can’t do anything about it. Just stand there and campaign and whinge? Stand on the front of Old Trafford in front of Best, Law and Charlton with my placard up saying ‘Glazers out’? I’m not going to do that because I haven’t got the solution
I know the Glazer family, met them probably five times in my life, but whatever Gary Neville says they are not going to do anything. Trust me, they’re going to sell when they want to sell. They’re hardened business people who lived through a campaign of green and gold for two years where the fans were essentially battering them, effigies everywhere and they didn’t budge one inch. If Gary Neville comes out tomorrow and says ‘the Glazer ownership is bad for Manchester United’ they’ll just shrug their shoulders and say ‘there’s another one’. I took money off the Glazer family essentially from 2004 to 2011 as a player, so the idea that I leave the club and [am] no longer paid by them and start whinging would compromise me: ‘Oh you were OK when you were taking money off them as a player, and never said anything as a player
2019 11 24 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Jones was criticised for the defensive calamity] If ever a goal had been coming […] the warning signs were there. Maguire and Jones, they can’t handle the running of Mousset and David McGoldrick in behind them. It’s agricultural, it’s a channel ball, the easiest ball in the world for a centre-back to deal with and Phil Jones doesn’t deal with it. Sheffield United get their just rewards. There’s a little bit of good fortune at the end. Jones just has a look over his shoulder and in that moment he loses control of the duel and Sheffield United, look at them - four of them in the box!
2019 11 25 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Manchester United’s three forwards performed like an ‘absolute joke’ during Sunday’s 3-3 draw against Sheffield United] The lack of movement from Martial, Rashford and James is a joke. It really is an absolute joke. All game. Nothing at all from them. Manchester United’s midfield is poor but you expect better from that front three. If you asked Chris Wilder to swap David McGoldrick and Mousset for Martial and Rashford, he would say no
[Neville acknowledged the improvement from Man Utd’s attackers in sparking the recovery from two goals behind] I called them [United’s front three] a joke 15 minutes ago, that front three. Their movement was awful, non-existent. They weren’t even good out of possession, they weren’t closing down Sheffield United but they have quality. These last 10 minutes they’ve come to life
[Phil Jones was making his first Premier League start of the season and lost out in a physical challenge with Mousset in the lead-up to Fleck’s opener] If ever a goal had been coming … the warning signs were there. [Harry] Maguire and Jones, they can’t handle the running of Mousset and McGoldrick in behind them. It’s agricultural, it’s a channel ball, the easiest ball in the world for a centre-back to deal with and Phil Jones doesn’t deal with it. Sheffield United get their just rewards. There’s a little bit of good fortune at the end. Jones just has a look over his shoulder and in that moment he loses control of the duel and Sheffield United, look at them - four of them in the box!
2019 11 25b Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Manchester United are still in need of five or six signings] The midfield’s just a problem for United full stop, let’s be clear about it. Even with Scott McTominay in it’s a problem. They haven’t strengthened in that area, obviously Pogba’s injured. It’s a problem for them and it’s just not good enough, the midfield just doesn’t have good enough quality. They need a striker, they need two midfield players, they need a left-back - they need five or six signings. They can’t do that until January and obviously the summer but the midfield will not go away as a problem for Manchester United just because of an injury. It’s a problem full stop - it needs strengthening
[When quizzed on a possible winter budget] It’s not about X amount of money. [Buying players] is about who we think is going to be good for the club in the long term, not just for three or four months. [Are those people available?] Probably not, because that’s the thing in January - not many clubs will sell players they want to keep in January. Maybe one or two could be a loan deal, but that’s not a money thing, that’s to help the team. But we’re getting players back. We’re looking at what can be available for us
2019 11 25c Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Jose Mourinho’s move to Tottenham is a marriage of convenience] I think this (Mourinho’s appointment) is to protect finances, this is to protect revenue. This is a new stadium and a team that is half falling apart due to contracts running out and a little bit of destabilisation of the squad. He (Levy) is trying to keep them together by bringing in a big name manager. This is absolutely a bridge for Daniel Levy - it’s a bridge for Jose Mourinho. Mourinho needed to get back into the Premier League to re-establish himself and he wanted to be in London. Levy needs someone who would get the football club quickly up to a level that is acceptable, into the Champions League. This is a marriage of convenience
[Neville also believes Mourinho’s contract will be heavily reliant on bonuses and is likely to include release clauses - on both sides] People said to me last week it is a three-and-a-half year contract. Daniel Levy is not stupid enough as an operator to expose himself to a £25 million payout to Jose Mourinho unless there are certain triggers hit and certain achievements made. Jose Mourinho isn’t stupid enough and soft enough to allow Daniel Levy to mess him around, sack him after 10 minutes and damage his reputation. This has got prenuptial written all over it like you would not believe.
I think this is a hard, cold conversation between two men who respect where each other are at, but actually never saw themselves working together, and essentially using each other as a bridge to get where they need to be. Jose wants to be back in the elite of European football, winning trophies. Daniel Levy needs to be in the Champions League and has to keep the players he has currently got.
I’m delighted he is back in the Premier League, he has lit up the league for 20 years. I’ve never bought into the theory he was a spent force at Man Utd and I’m interested to see how he gets on. But the contract will be so detailed around what he has to do. Ultimately I think they both will have protected themselves
2019 11 25d Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Fred & Pereira aren’t even good enough for a mid-table midfield never mind Man Utd] I’m disappointed with their away performances in general and the way they approach the games. Defensively the system didn’t work in terms of the back five in the first half. It looked like one team knew how to play it and the other didn’t. The midfield I’m not going into because Fred and Pereira is not a midfield. It is not a midfield for a mid-table club let alone one of the top spending clubs in Europe, though they have got injury problems and other issues in that area
What disappointed me was the lack of penetrating runs with and without the ball of the front three. I felt they could have done much more for the team. That front three are the spark, they are the ones that win the game for this current team. They’ve got so much talent. There are two front threes in this league for the top two clubs, Manchester City and Liverpool, that are absolutely outstanding. They are at it every single game, They fight for the ball and fight without the ball. They are not bad lads, and we know they have talent as they proved in the final 20 minutes, but there is something fundamentally wrong there in that first 70 minutes of the game - that cannot happen at that club.
I can expect inconsistency from young players in terms of performance levels, missing chances and decision making. What you can’t expect is inconsistency around work ethic, application and attitude. I’ve come to the conclusion on two things. One: they haven’t got senior players setting the standards for them to let them know what’s required in a football team. When I first broke into the team I had people around me to let you know where to go. Juan Mata and Ashley Young are on the bench, Paul Pogba is injured, Nemanja Matic is looking to get away. The experienced players in the club are in turmoil a little bit. So the [youngsters] are all out on that pitch together. And one more thing: they don’t know how to approach and Premier League away game. They don’t understand it is different play at Old Trafford than it is at home
2019 11 25e Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must be selfish and push to sign experienced players in the January transfer window] Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has to go and spend the club’s money in January, for himself. He has to go and spend the club’s money on two or three experienced players, he must demand it. He’s not going to be there to see the fruits of the labour that he’s putting in, the foundations he’s laying, because there’s a lot of good young players out on that pitch, that I actually enjoy watching
Ole’s going to have to be selfish, he’s going to have that ruthless streak that a [Jose] Mourinho has, or [Antonio] Conte has, and spend the club’s money to protect himself. Put two or three experienced players in amongst that group and they could come alive, who knows what they could become for the club. But they need good, experienced, top quality players in around them, because they don’t know the game at all yet, especially away from home
2019 11 28 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Daniel James have been told to emulate the jump made by former Manchester United heroes Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney] They’ve got a few players who could go on to be fantastic, Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Dan James. They’re at that point in their careers where there’s promise, real potential, and they show you glimpses of real class.
They’ve got to make that jump, I saw it years ago in players like Ronaldo and Nani develop. Wayne Rooney wasn’t the finished article when he came to United. They developed into something special. They’re young - they frustrated the life out of me for 70 minutes watching them against Sheffield United because I didn’t think they gave enough to the team when they weren’t playing well.
I don’t have a problem with them not playing well, but you have to contribute when you’re not playing well. I didn’t see them hassling the defenders, making runs in behind. I saw them ambling around quite a bit and feeling sorry for themselves. The body language wasn’t great. That gives Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his coaching staff the footage to go at that front three. There’s nothing better as a coach than if you can say to young players, ‘this cannot happen but look at this when you’re at it and playing well’, and that did happen in the last 15 minutes, they were flying. All you’re doing all along is teaching and coaching, because they are young and you have to give them some leeway for that, but I didn’t think they were anywhere near good enough in terms of their attitude for the first 70 minutes
2019 11 30 Retrieve
[Gary Neville has also condemned Fred and Pereira, suggesting that they are nowhere near the level required by the Red Devils] The midfield I’m not going into because Fred and Pereira is not a midfield. It is not a midfield for a mid-table club let alone one of the top spending clubs in Europe, though they have got injury problems and other issues in that area
The midfield’s just a problem for United full stop, let’s be clear about it. Even with Scott McTominay in it’s a problem. They haven’t strengthened in that area, obviously [Paul] Pogba’s injured. It’s a problem for them and it’s just not good enough, the midfield just doesn’t have good enough quality
2019 12 04 Retrieve
[Man Utd legend Gary Neville says Reds title collapse would make his year] If they blow it now, it’s going to be one of the best years I’ve had on Sky! Honestly, it would be the most incredible experience to watch this unfold and for them have a 12-point lead and then it dissipate before my eyes. I actually hope they have a 12-point lead in March and then really late just fall to pieces! But I have to say, they’ve shown consistency now for two years, they’ve been playing title-winning football for two years and they’ve amassed points that in any other season would win a title. And Man City are well below where they should be. Liverpool will have to work hard not to win it now with where they are at. They must think it’s their year
2019 12 04b Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to bring in a new striker and an extra midfielder in January] Ole needs to spend the owners’s money in January. He is doing what I call a ‘pure job’. He is essentially clearing out Van Gaal and Mourinho’s players and tried to bring in players who were young and British in the summer, with Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire. But these players are not mature enough, they haven’t got enough experience or quality in the squad and they’re suffering badly. They’re well short in terms of investment and quality. Ole doesn’t want to just be clearing the decks for other people to come in and benefit, he needs to make sure he benefits from it. And so he needs to spend the money and be ruthless with the board. It takes a lot for me to say these things publicly because I’m so connected to the club, but he needs to spend their money and he needs to spend it well.
I would say he needs a couple of midfield players and he needs a striker - that’s essential. A minimum of a midfield player and striker in January. He needs to line up two or three experienced players, because their current players are struggling on the pitch without guidance. They really are struggling, they need support out there. You look at James, Mason Greenwood, Scott McTominay, Andreas Pereira, Marcus Rashford, they all need experience alongside them. There’s no doubt they’re giving their all, but without some guidance, it’s just really difficult
[Neville unsure whether his old club will be able to pick up a positive result in derby showdown against Manchester City at Etihad Stadium] I do fear for them tonight, to be honest. I fear for them against Tottenham and I fear for them against Manchester City on Saturday. That’s not just me being negative; I’ve watched every United game over this last month and if you watch Man United you know it’s going to be a massive struggle for them to beat quality teams. I do fear for Ole
2019 12 07 Retrieve
[Former United man Gary Neville pointed to general issues in British society as racist incidents continue to plague football on a weekly basis] You talk about it being a societal problem and it absolutely is. You’re watching the Prime Minister’s debate last night where the Prime Minister [Boris Johnson] is talking about migration to this country and people coming into this country and having to have a certain level … it fuels it, all the time. It’s something that has got worse in the last three years in this country, not just in football
2019 12 07b Retrieve
[Neville unhappy with UK Prime Minister after alleged racist incident in Manchester derby] You talk about it being a societal problem and it absolutely is. You are watching the Prime Minister’s debate last night where he [Johnson] is taking about migration to this country, and people having to have certain levels. It fuels it all the time. It has got worse over the last three years in this country and not just in football
2019 12 07c Retrieve
[Despite United’s display, former star Gary Neville added that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad needs to be strengthened when the transfer window opens in January] It will give the squad confidence, but it doesn’t change what United need to do in January. They need to get some experience to bolster that squad. They need it desperately. Scott McTominay and Fred have done brilliantly but they can’t do it every week. It gives Ole a bit of breathing space and the confidence he can win big games as shown in the last four days
2019 12 08 Retrieve
[Manchester United legend Gary Neville was left encouraged by Saturday’s 2-1 derby success away to Manchester City] It’s been painful over the last five or six years and the players have taken criticism, rightly so. Performances like at West Ham, Aston Villa and Sheffield United are nowhere near good enough. But that’s a different level today. That’s what they can do. There will still be inconsistencies as they are young and are not performing week-in, week-out at the same level. It does give you hope that there is something there that can produce that level of performance. It will give the squad confidence, but it doesn’t change what United need to do in January. They need to get some experience to bolster that squad. They need it desperately. Scott McTominay and Fred have done brilliantly but they can’t do it every week. It gives Ole a bit of breathing space and the confidence he can win big games as shown in the last four days
2019 12 09 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Jose Mourinho would have probably sold or swapped Anthony Martial had he remained at Manchester United] Martial, I think, Jose would have probably sold him or swapped him last season. I think the club dug their heels in, probably the start of their dispute of them between them in terms of overruling the manager. Myself, I’m confused as to whether he’s a world-class striker or whether he’s someone who is going to pretend to be something.
You think he’s a fantastic player, great composure, cool, strong, can hold the ball up. And then other weeks you look at him … there’s definitely a persistence that needs to occur with Martial in the sense that he has to have his chance. Because the idea of selling him and then him coming back to bite you which he could do with his talent is something that you can’t risk. And that’s the reason why the club have kept him and now Ole is giving him his opportunity. You see things and you think it’s worth persisting with him because if he can, something clicks, and he gets that confidence, and he can be a 20-25 goalscoring striker
2019 12 16 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Mason Greenwood has all the qualities of a top centre-forward] I like Greenwood a lot. The composure that he shows at such a young age, his great physical presence. The way in which he finishes is that of a top centre-forward. Sometimes when you see a young player in front of goal, they panic a bit and snatch at things - [Daniel] James and [Jesse] Lingard do that quite a lot. But I’d say Greenwood is a better finisher than Rashford - and that’s saying something. He really does look the real deal. I think Solskjaer knows that and he’s going to bleed him in
United still need those transfer windows, they still need those players into the club. We are still going to see inconsistency. There just isn’t that quality, experience, patience; how to navigate a team that plays compact and is soaking up the pressure. Time and time again this season, when teams just force Manchester United to come forward a little bit, they have a problem - they haven’t got the quality to break them down. If a team comes at Manchester United and they can play on the counter-attack, they’re devastating. They’ve beaten Tottenham, Manchester City, Chelsea, Leicester - teams that have got real ambition - but they struggle in games where teams sit off them a bit. That just tells you where this team is at. They’re still short. You saw it with 20 minutes to go against Everton, they needed someone in midfield who could pull the strings, someone up top who could lead the line and bring other players into play. That’s something that’s desperately missing at the moment. Solskjaer himself will want two or three quality players in as quickly as possible so these youngsters can demonstrate their real quality
2019 12 22 Retrieve
[Gary Neville has called on the Premier League to stop hiding from its racism problem] We have a racism problem in the Premier League, in England, and the Premier League have got to stand up. They hide behind the FA, the Premier League, on this issue, they hide behind the FA, in my opinion. They push disciplinary issues to the FA. Yes, we heard the announcements at the end. But I said it a couple of weeks ago, we’ve just had a General Election in this country, both main parties and the leaders of both main parties [have been] accused constantly over the last month of fuelling racism and accepting racism in their parties.
If it’s accepted in the highest office in the country, we’re not talking at a micro-level, we’re talking about it at the absolute highest office in the country. And it’s the same here today, we’ve seen an incident, to be fair which we could say is down to one individual person, but it’s a far bigger problem than that. I think there has to be something that happens quickly. I think we maybe have to empower the players to walk off the pitch and stop the entertainment while it’s happening. That’s the only way I can see it happen.
Ultimately, I didn’t walk off the pitch when [fellow pundit and ex-Arsenal and Chelsea player] Ashley [Cole] was abused 15 years ago and you might argue that it’s now okay for me to sit here in my ivory tower of the commentary box and suggest players should walk off the pitch. But I think I would be ashamed of not doing it 15 years ago and absolutely proud of players now to empower them to think, do something about it, take it into your own hands.
The PFA have to act because the PFA are there to protect players in this country and players in this country are receiving abuse while playing football and doing their jobs and that is uncacceptable. The PFA have to take it into their own hands with the Premier League and FA and stop pointing the finger towards the Bulgarian FA and Spanish FA because we have to deal with our own ship here
2019 12 23 Retrieve
[Gary Neville questions Paul Pogba’s commitment to Manchester United’s cause] We know he [Pogba] will score goals and get assists, but every week single week Solskjaer is fielding questions about his future, so he needs to settle down at the club, or he needs to leave. The team has developed without him. They need players who want to be at the club. His agent [Mino Raiola] has spoken again this week. I think Solskjaer is playing a clever game right now, or he desperately wants him to stay. If he came out and said ‘No, Pogba does not have a future here’ then it would depreciate the price heavily. So I think he’s saying Pogba has a future here, but I can’t believe there isn’t something going on behind the scenes, especially when you hear the agent’s comments this week. Every inclination I get from the situation is that he wants to play football for someone else. My view would be that Manchester United would be better off without that if that’s the case. I think there will be clubs interested. He gets goals, assists and he is a player. He is Manchester United’s best player but does he want to play for the club?
2019 12 23b Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Manchester United need to consider bringing Juan Mata back into their starting XI] They’ve had problems against teams who essentially defend deep, who are compact. Even last week against Everton when Everton got into their shape. So the games that have been causing United problems have been this type of game. But if United are going to try and get into the positions where Tottenham and Chelsea are looking to get to, they have to start winning these games. The players have got a real problem, they haven’t got enough creativity in the final third when they play against a deep defence, it’s as simple as that. They prefer counterattacking, so that’s the issue. It’s a problem for United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has got to try and get around it. He’s not used Juan Mata that much but he is the one who potentially could find passes in tight spaces, so whether he could be introduced. Something like that might change it in these types of games.
2019 12 29 Retrieve
[Gary Neville said following the racist incident during the Man Utd derby, this conversation isn’t confined to just football, and the anti-immigrant agenda enabled by political figures can provoke this kind of hatred and ignorance] You talk about it being a societal problem and it absolutely is. You are watching the Prime Minister’s debate last night where he [Boris Johnson] is taking about migration to this country, and people having to have certain levels. It fuels it all the time. It has got worse over the last three years in this country and not just in football
2020 01 16 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Brandon Willams looks like he’d eat his opponent’s nose!] I like Brandon Williams. What I like about him specifically is he has that look in his eye of someone that would eat his opponents nose to win the match. Keep going kid! Oh he can play football too which is always a bonus
2020 01 17 Retrieve
[Gary Neville eulogise Roberto Firmino after Liverpool’s win at Tottenham last weekend] I think any manager in the world would have him as the centre-forward in their team. He’s selfless, brilliant, scores goals, sets things up, they can link off him, he makes all the right runs. Outstanding player
2020 01 20 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Man Utd’s recent recruitment has been unforgivable] I can’t believe the investment that’s been put into the squad in the last five, six, seven years and you end up with that out on the pitch. I saw a statistic two weeks ago that United have the second-highest wage bill in the world. And that’s the squad they’ve got. It’s unforgivable. It really is. I can’t change the ownership of Manchester United, no one can. But I’m struggling to understand why the ownership have persisted in trusting that management team to oversee the building of a Premier League title-winning team since Sir Alex Ferguson left. Because if you don’t lose your job for essentially overseeing that investment, that wage bill, and putting that team out on the pitch then I have to say something is really wrong.
There’s real talent in that executive team, they can create revenue, they can do things within the football club that can help to be fair. But in terms of what the club needed to do for a number of years now is put the best in class football operators into that club and they’re not doing it. They’re not doing it and it’s a mess. They need to sort it out and quickly
2020 01 20b Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Man Utd need a repeat of Henrik Larsson loan] To lose Marcus Rashford is a big problem for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He wasn’t blessed with a large pool of strikers and forwards anyway. I don’t know how they’re going to cope without him other than to try and sign somebody who can fill that gap and that’s not going to be easy because no one is going to let Manchester United just pick someone off the top shelf and go ‘you have him’ - everybody is looking to look after their own club and they just have to be somehow smart enough to get someone who can do a job for the club. It might even be a loan. In the past, United brought Henrik Larsson in short-term and he did a very good job for the club just to get the club over the line. It might just be it’s not the perfect striker who comes in in January but Manchester United just need a body, somebody who can get out there and contribute essentially what that team needs until the end of the season
Marcus Rashford is out for potentially two or three months so they’re going to be light up front. You look at the midfield, it’s bleak. Paul Pogba is out, having an operation, but there’s more than the midfield and centre-forward that needs changing at the club.
They need a centre-back. They need a left-back. They need a wide player, they need a striker, they need a midfielder. There’s five or six players needed in that squad not just one or two. Yeah, immediate to patch things up a midfielder and striker are essential because of the injuries to Rashford and Pogba but there are other things Manchester United have to be targeting. It’s a squad that’s had hundreds of millions spent on it but it looks like it needs hundreds of millions more. That’s worrying.
2020 01 29 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Manchester United still need another signing in the January transfer window] Man United’s midfield has needed strengthening for some time. They’ve had massive issues, not just in terms of recruiting players. Also with injuries to key players as well, Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay have obviously both been missing so it’s essential that they had to do a deal in that area of the pitch. I thought they would do at least two deals in this window, we’ll see what happens in the next 48 hours. I think a striker is required now after what has happened with Marcus Rashford.
’s a positive. I’ve not got huge expectations of Bruno Fernandes in terms of this next few months. I think for him to come to England, to settle in, he’ll need some time, but they’ve got a good quality player into the building. I think ultimately we shouldn’t be sat here as either United fans or pundits or commentators thinking he’s going to be amazing straight away. I think obviously it’s very difficult to hit the ground running in a January transfer
2020 01 29b Retrieve
[Gary Neville says recent attacks on Ed Woodward’s home were taken too far] Unfortunate images, obviously people’s families shouldn’t be attacked through sport or through football. Ed Woodward doesn’t deserve that and neither does his family. What I will say is that there are two separate issues here. The fans are absolutely disgusted with how the football side of the club has been run the last two or three years.
There still isn’t a technical director or football director. How it’s taking so long, I don’t know. The club, to be fair, should be moving that forward. They still don’t look slick in the transfer market. The team are obviously struggling. Essentially, the fans are not happy and it’s simmering and it will boil soon.
The reality is that the first issue is something that can’t be condoned but the second issue is that it’s going to get worse because the fans are starting to bring it into the stadium, into social media. They’re taking it above the line and into people’s house, which is not something that should be acceptable and should never happen. However there is a massive fanbase at Manchester United that is frustrated and is not going to accept what is happening at the club
[Neville says that the reason for that frustration stems from the lack of urgency from club leadership] With the ownership and with the executives, the reality is that they’re not seeing any movement or any drastic action. The same people that have been running the football club are still running the football club, and Manchester United, I was saying two or three years ago, needed best-in-class football operators and they haven’t got them.
They’re getting played all over Europe by better operators, by smarter people, and that is just unacceptable. That’s not something Manchester United fans should accept. However, they are displaying their displeasure in a way that is over the top and should never happen. This is sport. It is football and people are passionate, but there’s no way that anybody’s family or home deserves to be brought into it
2020 01 30 Retrieve
[While Bruno Fernandes will give Solskjaer’s attack another edge, United legend Gary Neville has stressed more reinforcements are needed] Man United’s midfield has needed strengthening for some time. They’ve had massive issues, not just in terms of recruiting players. Also with injuries to key players as well, Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay have obviously both been missing so it’s essential that they had to do a deal in that area of the pitch. I thought they would do at least two deals in this window, we’ll see what happens in the next 48 hours. I think a striker is required now after what has happened with Marcus Rashford
2020 01 31 Retrieve
[Roy Keane vs Patrick Vieira: Highbury tunnel fight & story behind the bitter rivalry] I could hear these footsteps behind me and Vieira shouting, ‘Neville! Neville! You’re not going to kick our players out on this pitch today. Roy obviously turned back, heard him and started having a go at him. He (Vieira) sort of squirted his water bottle towards Roy, then all hell broke loose
2020 02 01 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Manchester United cannot be let off the hook for landing Odion Ighalo on deadline day] They just needed another body in that area. Rashford is going to be out for another couple of months. I can’t let the club off the hook though, unfortunately. The fact that Lukaku revealed that he said he was going to leave last February/March, it’s nine months to be able to manoeuvre and get into a position for the club to sign a striker for the long-term.
They have ended up desperately doing one on transfer deadline day. The boy might do very well, he might settle and score goals and do a job. But the fact that the club are in that position, knowing that [Alexis] Sanchez and Lukaku were leaving for many, many months, tells us that Manchester United at this moment in time are struggling to navigate through the transfer market smartly
2020 02 02 Retrieve
[Gary Neville saw signs of Juan Sebastian Veron in Bruno Fernandes’ debut for Manchester United] It’s early days but I like what he did. I thought he did okay, it was a difficult game for him.
We’ve heard a lot about his assists and his goals and how he can affect games at the front of the pitch, but when he was moved into more of a holding midfield role alongside Fred in the second half I actually thought he did quite well.
He showed a lot of experience and discipline to not expose himself too much. In the first half he was in a number 10 role and he reminded me a bit of what Juan Sebastien Veron used to do when he first came to Manchester United. He charged around everywhere and moved everywhere. He was busy and was looking for spaces but didn’t really play in a position. I preferred him in the second half when he was a little more controlled and I thought it was a decent debut from him. Fred has emerged in recent weeks and those two could control games - there is some promise there
2020 02 17 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Raiola isn’t defending Pogba, he just wants his next payday] It will end with Paul Pogba leaving Manchester United. What needs to happen is the club needs to make a stand against that agent. He has messed them around now for years, with Pogba and with other players, and why they allow themselves to be played I’ll never know
He is a serious thorn in the side for them and United should just stand strong and not do business with this guy and say to players ‘if you’re represented by him we won’t deal with you’. He is publicly trying to embarrass the club all the time. He will say he is defending the player and sticking up for Paul Pogba but what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said was not an aggressive move, he was saying that he was a United player, they paid £90 million for him and they wanted him to play well. He wasn’t claiming ownership of him. But Raiola wants Pogba out the club, he wants his next payday. He has made millions off that player and he will continue to do so. He is the golden egg for Mino Raiola
2020 02 17b Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Banned Man City will beat ‘hopeless’ UEFA & FFP is a nonsense] I think City will beat UEFA, I’ve got no faith in UEFA whatsoever. They are a hopeless organisation who just apply erratic disciplinary sanctions for different things. I think it will get stuck in the courts for some time, but City will win in the end
I’ve always felt FFP is the wrong way to apply the financial rules. FFP was brought in to stop clubs going bust, but there are different ways of achieving that. In all other forms of business there are bank guarantees, bonds or owner’s pledges. If owners sign up to contracts then they should have the money in place to be able fulfil those contracts. I think Man City’s owners have got that.
There should be a fit and proper owners’ test and coverage of obligation, two things that should absolutely happen in every football club. FFP is a nonsense as far as I’m concerned. We are essentially saying that we can create a status quo in Europe, like a franchise. I think a lot of the top clubs in Europe would take football towards a franchise-type model if we didn’t have owners who would be willing to invest in other clubs.
There are horror stories of owners investing in clubs and not following through with their commitments, that’s got to be stopped. But there are other ways of stopping that without applying FFP. To suggest that Man City could ever catch Man Utd through sustainable, organic growth is absolute nonsense. The only way they could get to level playing field is through owner investment
2020 02 18 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Bruno Fernandes can be the difference for Man Utd] The problem they’ve got is when they come up against a team who are solid. They have problems in creativity and breaking down a team that basically sits behind the ball in numbers. That’s happened time and time again. It’s a well-known pattern
When Manchester United don’t have the ball against the top teams and the top teams have to come out at them, they look like quite an exciting team, and they’ve had some wonderful victories this season. They’ve even proved difficult for Liverpool at Old Trafford
Ultimately, United have a pattern about them in terms of the type of games they enjoy and the type of games they don’t. Maybe Bruno Fernandes will be the difference in certain games now at Old Trafford. They will be hoping they can get a little bit more out him in terms of creativity and assists, but there’s still a lot to do for them to convince us all that they can go on a consistent run
I don’t think Manchester United are perfect. Both teams are inconsistent. Chelsea have a tough game at home against Spurs at the weekend and they could easily go and win, while United could drop points against Watford. That’s how daft both these teams have been this season. One of them must go on a run now to get that Champions League spot.
Manchester United have demonstrated in games away from home, whether it be at Manchester City, against Chelsea or in other big games, that they’re capable of winning the big games. They can get results, particularly when they get one in front. They are good on the counter-attack and they score good goals. Their problems have come against teams that sit back against them, hold their shape and stay organised
2020 02 26 Retrieve
[Trophyless Kane is proof Aubameyang is world class] He’s not mentioned as world class. We don’t mention him as a Premier League great and I think we have to
2020 02 27 Retrieve
[World-class Aubameyang leading by example at Arsenal] You talk about Arsenal lacking characters and leadership, I think this guy has everything you would want. I didn’t know how he would adapt to being told to go and play on the left-hand side. The idea of doing a shift there when you think you’re the top man and you’re the goalscorer - but he seems to have really bought into it. He doesn’t look like he has been a moment’s bother since he’s come to Arsenal, so all the suggestions that he could have issues off the pitch have not materialised. I think the doubts have got to be removed now. I feel he doesn’t get appreciated anywhere as near as much as he should do
[On average, he scores once every 123 minutes in the top flight, that places him fourth in the all-time record list, behind only Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane and Thierry Henry] He’s ahead of Ruud Van Nistelrooy, who it felt like scored a goal every 10 seconds. It’s unbelievable the performance from this lad over two and a half years. He’s not mentioned as world class, we don’t mention him as a Premier League great and I think we have to
2020 03 09 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Man Utd’s midfield was pathetic & now it’s thriving] I was thinking about United’s midfield and I think universally United fans would say that it has been pathetic for 18 months. But you look at McTominay, you look at Fred, you look at Nemanja Matic who looks a different player, and you look at Bruno, and all of a sudden United have a midfield when it had been non-existent. Are they the best group of Manchester United players that have been here even in the last eight years? No, not for talent. But they are a far easier group to like because they want to be here
There are not many times in recent years where I have seen the stadium bouncing like that where the whole stadium is at it. I have not seen it like this for a long time. A rare moment. But it was a good day for United and they needed it as well. It still doesn’t give them what they want in terms of a Champions League place or a top-four finish but something like that was a big moment for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and those players
[Asked if Solskjaer’s side should now be looking to chase down the Foxes] Absolutely. Manchester United have got a game against Tottenham next week and that is a big match because if Tottenham win they go within a point of United. Then United have, on paper, a favourable run of fixtures which they should be happy about
2020 03 18 Retrieve
[Man Utd legend Neville offers free hotel beds to NHS workers] Over the last week we have been in consultation with the health services in the Greater Manchester area, in particular, the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust. Our 176 beds will be occupied by National Health Service workers and medical professionals from Friday onwards. It’s at this time that I think the whole of our industry needs to show solidarity, not just for our staff in these uncertain times but obviously for those who need the accommodation most in the coming months
It’s something we’re delighted to have come into agreement with. It will operate free of charge and our staff will operate the hotels as normal. The health workers will be able to stay there without any cost whatsoever in these next few months when they need isolation away from family members who may be affected by what’s going on. Stay safe and we wish everybody all the best
2020 03 19 Retrieve
[Neville slams Boris Johnson’s ‘conflicting’ response to coronavirus] In moments of crisis the real leaders stand up and make tough decisions, which sometimes go against the grain of essentially what’s happening. The government at that time [the beginning of the pandemic], through Boris Johnson, were essentially zig-zagging all over the place with their messages. Even today he’s talked about ‘let’s protect each other.’ I watched his address earlier on and he talked about self-isolating, protect yourself and each other, be resilient on this, but he’s not shut clubs, bars, restaurants, pubs - schools aren’t closing until tomorrow evening. The messages are so conflicting from the government and, to be fair, economically driven at times, I have to say
[He soon returned his attentions to the former Mayor of London] I felt the Premier League saying that the games would continue for another weekend was almost ‘winging it’ to try and get another round in. I understand the complexities of it, but I do feel decisive leadership is important […] Every time I see the chief medical officer [Chris Whitty] stood next to Boris Johnson, he looks more and more uncomfortable. He did explain his strategy with the prime minister present, and then was challenged by 200 other scientists over the weekend and then Matt Hancock on a Sunday programme suggested they weren’t going to pursue that strategy. Ultimately, I’m not a scientist, but you have to have consistency of message and decisive leadership
2020 03 20 Retrieve
[Man Utd legend Neville can see ‘spectacular’ finish to season] The last thing I’m worried about is sorting out the fixtures. If football players need to play every day for nine days to finish the Premier League as a worst-case scenario, they would do it because they’d get their heads around it and make it a festival of football. It would be something spectacular. Football can bring some hope and joy to the country when we finally come out of this crisis. Doing a festival of football where the league is finished in two weeks, the Champions League gets finished in a week and the FA Cup is finished in four days could be something quite special. I’m not saying they are the examples that should be followed, but there could be something quite spectacular about football fans coming together after this crisis is over. It would bring some joy back to the nation as football does impact so many people
The least of my worries are the calendar as once the crisis is over I think footballers, the authorities, the associations will want to play as many matches as psychically possible in a week, a month or a three month period to get everything back on track.
If you think about the Christmas period, clubs play four games in eight days. When we were going to win the Premier League with Manchester United we had a backlog of fixtures due to FA Cup and we played four games in a week. It is possible over a six or an eight-week period that there might be four games a week.
I’m not concerned about squeezing more games in. Players, clubs, managers and physios will understand that you can’t complain about fixture congestion next season due to the circumstances. It’s a global crisis and football has to react and compromise
2020 03 23 Retrieve
[Gary Neville on he idea of staging fixtures with no fans involved once a green light can be given] I said no on this about three or four weeks ago because I felt that it takes away from the essence of football. I also felt that EFL (English Football League) clubs and non-league clubs would suffer too much from the revenue loss and it would put them under. At the moment, the behind closed doors idea has got to come only after the health priority. Will fans turn up outside the stadium? Will fans congregate outside the stadium if their team can get promoted or get relegated, or if they can get into Europe? How are we going to stop that? How are the police going to man it? How are the health services going to react to incidents that happen off the back of it and do we need to put any more pressure on the services at this point in time? However, if those fears could be overcome somewhere down the line within this 12-week period then [behind closed doors games] could be the case
2020 03 24 Retrieve
[Gary Neville snubs Rooney and Van Nistelrooy when naming favourite Manchester United strike partnership] Yorke was an unbelievable player. He could do all things; he could score, set up play, run in behind, dribble, bring other players into play - he was the all-round centre-forward. It transpired that whatever combination of the four strikers we had on the pitch that season they all could play together, they all had good combinations with each other. For the treble season alone, Yorke and Cole were the best. They were sensational, the way they played together. They lit up the whole league, they lit up Europe. I always remember a game at Barcelona in the Champions League group stages, I’d never seen anything like it. We conceded three goals - I was playing at centre-back - but we scored three and Yorke and Cole were absolutely brilliant
When Yorke signed in 1998 it was after the start of the season, and it was a surprise in some ways because I came out of nowhere. We knew Yorke was a good player from Aston Villa, but you didn’t think he would be the one to come into United. I don’t think anybody realised how good a player he was - I never realised how good he was, I knew he was a good player but not to the level he surprised us by when he came into the team. Yorke and Cole didn’t hit it off from the start, it took 10 to 15 games from memory. Leicester away sticks in my mind, something just happened that day and after that they started socialising together, getting on off the pitch and a respect between each other developed. The thing about that partnership is that neither minded who scored, something you wouldn’t have seen with partnerships involving Ruud van Nistelrooy and Michael Owen, who had to score to be happy
2020 03 25 Retrieve
[Man Utd legend Gary Neville predicts coronavirus crisis will drag on] I think at this moment in time it’s inconceivable that football will return for the next three to four months because of the fact that we’ve just been put essentially on a lockdown. Football will not return because all the resources that are required to run a football stadium, which requires the police and the ambulance services, will not be available in the next few months. They’ll obviously be in hospitals and in the care homes looking after the sick and people who need it the most
Health comes first – of the fans, the players, the staff, the people who enter the stadiums. The most important thing is that we are about to embark on a huge crisis for our country
2020 03 26 Retrieve
[Gary Neville believes he failed as Valencia manager because he was weak and unqualified for the job] Sometimes ‘no’ is a great word. However, sometimes you’ve got to say ‘yes’ and step up. I’d turned down two Premier League enquiries and two Championship enquiries in the 18 months before. I had no intention to go into management. Although I was working with England and Roy Hodgson, my role was more concentrating on analysis - like I was doing on Sky - rather than coaching. When Peter [Lim, Valencia owner] rang me, he didn’t want to bring in a new manager halfway through the season because he knew he wouldn’t get the man he wanted. He wanted somebody that he trusted to navigate him to the end of the season. I said no initially but then eventually wanted to do it for him.
A little bit of arrogance, a little bit of ego - I’d lived through Manchester United for 20 years, I’d gone to Sky and it had gone well and you feel a little bit unbreakable, like you’re in a position where nothing is going to go wrong. When you’re unprepared, you’re not working hard at something as other people are, when you take something on that you’re not as qualified in as you should be, you get a slap round the face.
To be fair, when I look back now at some of the decisions that I made - the initial decision and the decisions that I made when I got there - it was a massive learning experience. I think it has helped me even in the last few weeks in respect to what has happened with this [coronavirus] crisis and my businesses, I now act far more decisively and definitely than I have ever acted before because of Valencia.
I fluffed around a few decisions that I should have made and I knew instinctively at the time that I should have made big decisions and I didn’t. I sort of thought I could get away with it until the end of the season, steer the ship home to the sand and let someone else take it back out, but it never happened like that. I got a massive bloody nose
2020 03 26b Retrieve
[Cristiano Ronaldo called our pitch ‘a disgrace’ at Valencia] The 2-2 draw with Real Madrid where we almost won it late on was an incredible night. Rafa Benitez was Madrid manager and that was his last game before he got sacked. What I remember most about that game was our tactic of leaving the grass really long and we didn’t water the pitch so the ball wouldn’t travel as quick in the hope of slowing down Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale
It was like a farmer’s field. Cristiano came over to me before the game and said ‘it’s a disgrace, cut the pitch’ - I said ‘absolutely no chance’. There was no way he was dribbling that night
2020 03 28 Retrieve
[Man Utd legend Neville floats idea of 12-month transfer window after coronavirus lockdown] Finish this season in a short time frame when safe. Condense next season if needed. Open transfer window from May and run it all the way through 20/21 to give clubs agility. Extend player contracts to complete 19/20. Financial packages for clubs in need including non-league.
Surely we aren’t gonna be hearing this crap when the game can return! I’m in no doubt whenever it does return it will be 9-10 game hit in an extremely condensed period. Contracts may have to be temporarily extended if needed and the PFA just need to accept this as a requirement
It’s not going to be ideal for sports science but it will happen when safe to do so I’m sure. Whether we like it or not with it being for economical reasons the £750m at stake is too big a number. Some clubs would be in big trouble as they’ve spent it already!
2020 04 01 Retrieve
[Neville reveals details of Sir Alex’s transfer policy at Man Utd] There were three categories. His policy was to promote youth wherever possible, that was number one before he even looked at the external market. Number two was to look at the best in the Premier League, those he could trust, and still have growth and be with the club for a long time. Gary Pallister, Steve Bruce, Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Robin van Persie. And then he always wanted emerging international talent that could come over to Manchester, that he could work with and develop into great players. Nemanja Vidic, Peter Schmeichel, Patrice Evra, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He very rarely ventured into the world of buying the complete star, and it’s not far off Pep Guardiola’s tactic with Manchester City right now
In terms of selling players, he would get rid when they either weren’t good enough, or when he felt they were questioning his control. He was ruthless on that. United’s strategy was like a very slow conveyor belt. A few would come in, and a few would leave. Never more than a handful each season, never a massive adaptation of the squad. It was controlled, with six or seven young players, 10 in the middle, and three or four that were in their 30s. Every club that has had a dynasty has had that stability of players
2020 04 01b Retrieve
[Gary Neville making his hotel available as health center] It’s at this time that I think the whole of our industry needs to show solidarity, not just for our staff in these uncertain times but obviously for those who need the accommodation most in the coming months. It’s something we’re delighted to have come into agreement with. It will operate free of charge and our staff will operate the hotels as normal. The health workers will be able to stay there without any cost whatsoever in these next few months when they need isolation away from family members who may be affected by what’s going on
2020 04 02 Retrieve
[Gary Neville explains why Juan Sebastian Veron flopped at Man Utd and makes Bruno Fernandes comparison] He was an amazing player, Juan Sebastian Veron. The reason it didn’t happen for him, in my opinion, was that we had the best midfield that I think English football has ever produced - and I think will ever produce
He was an amazing player, Juan Sebastian Veron. The reason it didn’t happen for him, in my opinion, was that we had the best midfield that I think English football has ever produced - and I think will ever produce
You had a midfield four that were on another planet, and what the manager was obviously trying to do was see life beyond that midfield four and try to add strength in depth and try to marry that midfield four with Juan Sebastian Veron
So if you remember at the time what happened, Scholesy got moved forward one, or Scholesy got moved to the left if Giggsy was injured and Juan Sebastian Veron would play in midfield. So that disrupted the quartet
The intent was there to try and move the squad forward - I think Carra [Jamie Carragher] has spoken about it with Liverpool, with Mane, Salah and Firmino, if you go and sign a top player to come into that front three, one of them has to sit out
All of a sudden you’ve got an unhappy player on your bench and it disrupts it. And when you’ve got such a set three like that - like we had such a set four - it just became really difficult
So that was number one, because we were a 4-4-2 team, and that midfield quartet was so outstanding that he came in and we ended up with a different system. The second thing was the way Seba Veron played the game
The midfield four we had played in what I would call quite a methodical way, you wouldn’t see David Beckham pop up on the left wing and Ryan Giggs on the right wing, you wouldn’t see Paul Scholes and Roy Keane cross in midfield if they’re going to get it off each other’s full-back
They played a disciplined role - I’m not saying they didn’t go forward - but there was an element of discipline and understanding between them
The way Seba played, he’s coming out of Italy, and it’s the way in which actually a lot of midfield players now play, like Bruno Fernandes who’s come to Manchester United. He reminds me so much of Veron. But the game has developed to a point now whereby players can move into different positions, there’s a lot more fluidity in systems, 4-4-2 doesn’t exist anymore
Seba Veron was coming into a very methodical 4-4-2 which had really good patterns of play which we all knew, and he was moving across those patterns trying to get the ball from the left-back when Scholes gets the ball from the left-back as an example
He almost was the first player - and Cristiano Ronaldo did the same - who almost broke the code
I think Veron came in with an interchanging position mindset and a different mindset, into a team that had been set in the patterns. So for me that was why it just didn’t quite happen. It was nothing to do with him as a player or as an individual. He was a brilliant player
2020 04 03 Retrieve
[Gery Neville slams Health Secretary Hancock for Premier League pay-cut comment] I wish I was a player for 10 more mins. The PL players are more than likely working on a proposal to help clubs, communities and the NHS. It takes longer than two weeks to put together. Matt Hancock calling them out when he can’t get tests in place for NHS staff is a f*****g cheek!
2020 04 13 Retrieve
[The story behind Manchester United’s bizarre grey kit change vs Southampton] [The specialist] brought in a lot of eye and alertness exercises and said to Sir Alex to imagine a crowd behind you, there are colours you can see more than others. It is the reason people wear bright yellow on a motorway. She believed when you saw these grey kits that the players won’t pick each other up at a distance. It had been going on for months and he had rejected this kit a couple of months before. He wasn’t having it.
2020 04 13b Retrieve
[Manchester United legend Gary Neville says Furlough clubs should face transfer ban] These transfer discussions, whether it be Harry Kane to United for £200 million or Jadon Sancho to City or United for £100m, it completely undermines the discussions the Premier League are having with the players around taking a 30 per cent pay cut.
If you’re asking for a 30 per cent pay cut across the board and you’re going to spend another £1bn in two months on transfers. The Premier League spent £1.4bn last summer on transfers and the previous three summers they also spent over £1bn. If you’re trying to get 30 per cent pay cuts from existing players, you may have to put a transfer embargo in place.
If I was the PFA, and Tottenham want a 30 per cent pay cut, or Manchester United on their players, which was what was said a couple of weeks ago, then it’s very difficult for the existing players to then see their club do a transfer for £200m three weeks later.
Transfers are things the fans love, and we love players moving around, but it does seem to me to be awry when we’ve got such a behind-the-scenes war going on with respect to players taking cuts, the clubs needing support, and then in the next breath you’ve got a £200m transfer speculation going on.
That doesn’t feel right to me. Premier League clubs can’t stop the speculation, but there’s no smoke without fire. I would suggest the Premier League to stop this would probably put a transfer embargo in place on all clubs that are looking to reduce their players’ wages.
That would take away a lot of the angst that is existing among the players behind the scenes who feel they’re having the wool pulled over their eyes by the clubs.
2020 04 13c Retrieve
[Manchester United great Gary Neville believes Harry Kane would be a signing fitting with the club’s historical transfer strategy] I think it fits Manchester United’s historical transfer, going back to say, Bryan Robson, Roy Keane, trying to sign Alan Shearer, Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney, the best or most famous English or British [or Irish] player in the Premier League. It does fit with that with what Manchester United did last summer with Harry Maguire, one of the best players available on the market.
[The former United defender also believes the forward will not have been happy with his club’s decision to furlough non-playing staff during the Covid-19 pandemic] He’s a clever lad, Harry Kane, he’s not somebody I think would get caught out if he didn’t want to say something, so the little opening of the door that he left in that Instagram piece had something in it. I don’t think Harry Kane will have been that impressed with his club a couple of weeks ago with what they did. He’s a good lad, a solid lad, I don’t think he’d have taken that particularly well and he was probably just poking them back. In my mind, I think he’ll have been warning them to say just be careful, because I’m watching you and that’s not something we do.
2020 04 14 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Mason Greenwood is the brightest rising star in the Premier League] I would say Mason Greenwood. He can be anything he wants to be. He just looks like he’s got such great composure and quality. He’s great physically as well. If he continues to emerge like he’s shown at times this season I think Manchester United have got the real deal there
2020 04 16 Retrieve
[Manchester United legend Gary Neville has revealed Wayne Rooney was the most difficult player he captained during his tenure leading the Red Devils] Rooney. You used to have to man-mark with him a security guard on a night out. I used to take responsibility for it. I remember once - and I used to love Wazza, he was a brilliant lad - but when he was younger he was a little bit… what’s the word… when we were out, he was a little bit unpredictable. I remember once a security guard was looking after him, I literally did put a security guard on him - I always thought he was a target for people we saw in the street, someone the other fans would try and wind up. So anyway he’s stopped at the top of the stairs, this security guard, and handed him over to the security guard at the bottom of the stairs and [Rooney] was having a battle in the middle of the stairs in between the security guards. It’s about a 10-step staircase and he’s literally been left alone for five steps! He was somebody that was a challenge, but he was a great lad
2020 04 17 Retrieve
[Neville says he backed approach for Louis Saha] Sir Alex never asked us which players we should sign or never asked us information about players he was going to sign. But after we played Fulham one time in the FA Cup (in 2001), he actually asked us as defenders, would we sign Louis Saha? We all said ‘yes’ straight away.
I remember the season where he was playing up front with Wazza (Wayne Rooney) in 2006 and it was unbelievable; they were fantastic together. Louis was a brilliant, brilliant player. He gave me absolute nightmares when I used to play against him when he played for Fulham - him and Luis Boa Morte
2020 04 17b Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Football has gone quiet - they’re hiding] Where are the club owners, where are the club CEOs, why are they not communicating to everybody in this country what is happening. There is an absolute abyss of information, we are just speculating all the time. You see the government, whether it’s good or bad, communicating every single day, you see other businesses and industries communicating every single day, football has gone quiet - they’re hiding. It would be nice to hear from them, about the challenges they’re facing, what discussions are taking place. What they did a few weeks ago with the players, they dragged the players into taking a 30 per cent pay cut for 12 months but they forgot to mention it to the players first. They lost the players on day one, they need them back on board in the next few weeks and there needs to be some sort of reduction or deferment of salaries, but in times of crisis, even when you don’t know what the outcome is going to be, you have to communicate, you cannot just go quiet
2020 04 18 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Ronaldo didn’t score every game so why should Rashford?] Marcus Rashford, to be fair, is still a young player [who’s] developing, he needs to be persisted with. He will be persisted with because Manchester United believe in him, and they should believe in him because he’s a great talent. When you’re sort of a young player… Alan Shearer didn’t score a goal a game at Southampton when he first broke in. Simple as that. Cristiano [Ronaldo] didn’t do it at Manchester United when he first came to Manchester. We shouldn’t be expecting the same of Marcus Rashford
2020 04 25 Retrieve
[Gary Neville has expressed his belief that Jadon Sancho is nowhere near the level of players like Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria] To be honest, Jadon Sancho in this moment of time […] we get carried away. I think we’ve got an amazing group of young English players. But we have to consider the other players that exist, Brazilian players, Argentine players, German players, Belgium players - we are not the only country in the world. That’s how it was as an England player and an England coach, ‘we have a golden generation’. You say golden generation and obviously, it was Becks (David Beckham), Stevie [Gerrard], Frank [Lampard], [Wayne] Rooney, but then Brazil had Rivaldo, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo, what’s that […] platinum? You say we have a golden generation but you forget these other countries have world stars. It’s like, ‘hang on a second’. Argentina have Aguero, Higuain, Messi, Di Maria, how good are they compared to Jadon Sancho? Jadon Sancho is nowhere near these players. Let’s be clear, Jadon Sancho is a talent, but we can’t start putting him in the category with world stars who are winning European cups and World Cups regularly, season in, season out.
2020 04 27 Retrieve
[A former foe of his, ex-Manchester United defender Gary Neville, has even gone as far as absolving Gerrard of blame for the title collapse] I’ve not said this before because at the time, it was such a deep wound for Liverpool fans and Steven Gerrard personally. I thought the keeper should have done better. I’ve never said it before. If that was a moment later on this season, I think Alisson would save it. I think eight times out of 10, he would save it. I think it’s a scuffed shot from Demba Ba, I don’t think he looks confident. It goes in and nobody ever blamed Mignolet for that goal. I don’t think you can blame him, I don’t think you can say he was at fault but Alisson would have saved it
2020 04 29 Retrieve
[Gary Neville calls out Premier League for prioritising money over player safety] The FIFA medical officer said that football should not take place before September. I think if it was a non-economic decision there would be no football for months. People are now assessing risk. How many people have to die playing football in the Premier League before it becomes unpalatable? One? One player? One member of staff goes into intensive care? What risk do we have to take? The discussion is purely economic
[Neville says that the decision to push back football’s return is clouded by monetary concerns more than reason] There will be people who will view it as a risk factor. Players themselves will want to go and play. Players at the lower levels will want to go play and 1,400 players are out of contract. Clubs have huge investment in this season. Think about what’s at stake for Leeds, it’s absolutely massive. There are big prizes up for grabs. There’s huge economic loss. It clouds people’s minds in terms of the risk that they’re willing to take. There are some players with conditions that could be more at risk of coronavirus than others and that is something that needs to be assessed. If health comes first, there is only one outcome at this moment in time. How many players have got asthma? How many players have diabetes? Have they assessed all of these things and are they willing to put those people at risk? If they are, we’ll all turn up and commentate on those matches. Fingers crossed, every day we’ll not have an incident which would be one of our players or a member of staff falling ill
2020 04 30 Retrieve
[Gary Neville has joined Murray in his scepticism, saying that the Premier League is being mainly guided by financial considerations rather than health concerns] People are now assessing risk. How many people have to die playing football in the Premier League before it becomes unpalatable? One? One player? One member of staff goes into intensive care? What risk do we have to take? The discussion is purely economic.
2020 05 01 Retrieve
[Gary Neville has suggested the Premier League should consider playing games in hotspots without coronavirus concerns, if the plan remains to finish the season] If the Premier League are really serious about delivering the matches that remain in a safe environment, they would move it to the two or three spots that are within three or four hours of this country that are coronavirus free. They would take the Premier League players, broadcasters and media over, quarantine for a week or two and then deliver it in an environment that has proven it can handle this virus. There are a couple of hotspots in Europe that haven’t got coronavirus which could handle the Premier League finishing. If they were serious about it and wanted to deliver it with a safe outcome, they could do that. In this country, I’m not sure they can deliver it with the amount of coronavirus which is around, especially with the amount of movement of it out there and the logistic issues. I’m not sure they can deliver what they want to do
2020 05 01b Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has a plan to overtake Pele’s goal record and become the greatest of all time] His drive to become the best in the world was out of this world. He was one of the few players that I’ve played with that would publicly announce that individual trophies were important to him. He just wanted to be the very best and what he’s done over the years has been absolutely exceptional. His achievements have been amazing and he’s worked hard for it. It’s an obsession with scoring goals and applying himself every day, being the fittest he can possibly be. I think he’s lifted his professionalism every single year and progressed. I think he has a plan to go on and take over Pele’s record. He wants to be the greatest of all time and that is his sole purpose. Understanding that along the way if he is the greatest of all time, the teams that he plays for will win trophies and be successful
2020 05 01c Retrieve
[How Sir Alex Ferguson dealt with Ronaldo & Rooney on first day back at Man Utd after World Cup wink] First day back in training, I was called into the office with Wayne and Cristiano by the manager, he wanted to see if there were any problems, any hangovers. They were actually really good friends, they used to socialise - Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Cristiano and Wayne were very close to each other. Because the whole of the country was against him (Ronaldo), it did feel like a David Beckham-type moment in our dressing room. There was this thing about England and Manchester United, with England fans having a go at the United players, there was no love lost anyway. When Beckham came back in 1998 everyone at United rallied around him, and it was the same with Cristiano in 2006, and it helped him go and prove everybody wrong. It was the first morning of pre-season, they shook hands, there was no problem whatsoever. To be fair, Wayne is knowledgeable enough to know that on a football pitch, anything goes - we had the same mentality at United. Cristiano was trying to win for his country, Wayne would not expect anything different and neither would I.
2020 05 01d Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Cantona-esque James Maddison ‘fantastic’ player amid Man Utd transfer talk] We’re quick to mention players like Maddison being cocky. We used to say it about players like Joe Cole and Matt Le Tissier. Eric Cantona obviously was seen as an arrogant and cocky player. Jack Grealish has had it as well and there’s a stigma attached to some players. But actually that’s why they are the players they are. They’ve got flair, ability, they want to look good and look the part. They’re brilliant to watch and he [Maddison] is a fantastic player and I’m sure Leicester will be working very hard to make sure they hang on to him.
2020 05 01e Retrieve
[Gary Neville summed up in the bluntest of terms on the Sky Sports football podcast] How many people have to die playing football in the Premier League before it becomes unpalatable? One? One player? One member of staff goes into intensive care? What risk do we have to take? The discussion is purely economic
2020 05 02 Retrieve
[Gary Neville talks about rooming with David Beckham, and the complications it brought] I had two big problems with Becks, well, he had with me! I used to go to bed at 9pm and wake up at 5am, he would stay up until 11pm and want to wake up at 8am, so essentially he was keeping me up from 9 until 11 and then I was getting him up at 5 in the morning, so it just wasn’t working at all. He is the cleanest person. He gets into his room, he lights candles, he puts pictures up - everything has to be absolutely perfect, it’s been the same since he was 18. I just throw everything everywhere, so it just did not work at all
2020 05 02b Retrieve
[Gary Neville believes financial concerns will force Premier League to finish season] How many people have to die playing football in the Premier League before it becomes unpalatable? One? One player? One member of staff goes into intensive care? What risk do we have to take? The discussion is purely economic
2020 05 07 Retrieve
[Manchester United legend Gary Neville has responded to claims from Angel Di Maria’s wife that England is a sh*thole by pointing out that the Argentine played like a drain during his time at Old Trafford] All I would say is, we hear these stories from time to time where a player has played like a drain, like Di Maria did at Manchester United. He was awful and I had high expectations and excitement when he came to the club thinking we were signing a top player. He was never interested from day one. What he needs to do is look across the road at Sergio Aguero, his Argentinian compatriot or Pablo Zabaleta who have done alright in Manchester and haven’t been in a rush to leave. I will defend my city to the hilt and she did have an unfortunate experience where there was a robbery, which would hamper you mentally and would cloud your judgement of the city
2020 05 08 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Man Utd have got a real star in Greenwood] I think youth systems and producing your own players in the next two or three years will be the lifeblood of clubs. It’s a really difficult time for players at all levels, in terms of the ones out of contract, but there’s a massive opportunity for young players who have got ability to get driven into the first team. I think Mason Greenwood is an outstanding player, the equal of Rashford at his age, in some ways more composed and a bit more classy, less raw, he looks well above his age group in terms of his composure and his temperament. I think Manchester United have got a real star there. We’ve been wrong before, you talk about Adnan Januzaj, I thought he was going to be world-class, but I think Greenwood is going to be the real thing
It’s going to be exciting now with the young players, Brandon and Mason, maybe the break will do them good, their bodies might fill out, it’s a new training environment for him. I was surprised when you said he’d only started four league games, and he’s really done well in most of them. Some tough games, he’s been thrown in at the deep end, and he’s done fantastic. I’m looking forward to seeing him because he’s a special talent
2020 05 08b Retrieve
[Gary Neville believes that League One and League Two will be forced to cancel the remainder of their seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic] I said a few weeks ago I think it’s extremely unlikely League One and League Two will play football. We know the Bundesliga and the measures they’re putting in place to allow football to happen. It’s going to cost a lot of money. And the same with the Premier League. We’re talking millions of pounds to invest in what would be health and safety protocols, neutral venues, all the logistics, the hotel costs of keeping club people and players in as safe environments as possible will be huge costs to the Bundesliga and the Premier League. And League One and League Two can’t fund that. The clubs won’t fund that
You’ve obviously got added complexities that 50 per cent of players in League One and League Two are out of contract in two months and ultimately clubs don’t want to pay them beyond those contracts so there will be no extensions available. I think also there’s just a lack of willingness at League One and League Two levels to take the risk and go through all the economic risks. There [will be] no fans in stadiums, you’d have to pay players appearance money and bonus money - and the clubs haven’t got the money. The only way in which football could happen in League One and League Two is if our friends in the Premier League were able to fund football for League One and League Two but I’m not sure at this moment in time they’ve got their own ship in order, so they’re not going to look after League One and League Two and League Two
2020 05 08c Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Pogba can help Man Utd challenge for title next season] I think it is. I think the direction all season of Pogba’s career was always pointing away from Manchester in the sense that there was so much speculation, his agent was coming out all the time. I just wonder now with what’s happened, obviously with coronavirus and the economic reset in football, which clubs are actually going to be able to buy Paul Pogba for the reported 80, 90, £100m? Which clubs are going to pay the huge wages Paul Pogba is on at Manchester United? I’m not diminishing him as a player, I’m talking about the economic situation that the whole world finds itself in.
So Paul Pogba may want to sit at Manchester United for the next 12 to 18 months and look at the fact he’s got a club that he can play at with Bruno Fernandes, with Fred, with [Scott] McTominay, with [Nemanja] Matic, [Harry] Maguire, [Aaron] Wan-Bissaka, Brandon Williams, De Gea in goal and then you’ve got Mason Greenwood, [Anthony] Martial and Rashford up front. You look at that as a core group of players who are a really good age. Manchester United still need to add three, four or five players of really high quality to that, and they are in a position to be able to capitalise this summer in the transfer market. They will be one of the clubs that still has some sort of ability to do some business. Manchester United have found it difficult in these last eight years to keep prices down, to keep wages down and they are going to be in a very, very strong position to hold their nerve this summer.
This is a really important summer for Manchester United. If football can get back in the next few weeks, if Man Utd can continue to play how they were pre this lockdown - when they were starting to keep clean sheets, they had a good defensive record, the midfield looked like it was starting to tick and they were still getting goals out of that front three - you starting looking at the glass half full rather than half empty and being the 30 points, or whatever it is, off Liverpool. I don’t know why it is but I feel a little more confident in Manchester United’s ability to challenge next season just because of what’s happened and the fact that they started to play a lot better before this lockdown
2020 05 09 Retrieve
[Prospect of Paul Pogba being paired with Bruno Fernandes in United’s midfield] They could be amazing together if they compromise and work to help each other
2020 05 10 Retrieve
[Though Wan-Bissaka has yet to make his senior debut for England, Neville has said that the 22-year-old is already a better defender than Alexander-Arnold] At this moment in time, Aaron Wan-Bissaka is the better defender. But Trent going forward … I’ve not seen someone like it since Cafu. So Trent is ahead at this point but Wan-Bissaka has settled really well and will be important in these next few years
2020 05 11 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Manchester United don’t need to spend £20m on Ighalo] Is Ighalo worth £20m? Probably not in this market. He may have been if he continued scoring goals but you probably don’t need now to spend £20m
2020 05 12 Retrieve
[Gary Neville has said the Premier League should be looking at a July restart date] I don’t think anybody is clear, in football or in the country. You’ve all seen the fallout of the rambling mess we had to witness on Sunday night. It became a little bit clearer yesterday with the further info that was released, but I think the Premier League were hanging their hat on further guidance that they didn’t get. Maybe at this moment in time they need to be thinking on a July start rather than a June start. We’re getting closer and closer to a deadline
2020 05 13 Retrieve
[Gary Neville reveals his Tevez frustrations] What annoyed me about Tevez was he downed tools in his second season, that and sitting on the treatment bench, starting coming out late for training, started messing around, he was playing the club. I couldn’t stand that. Particularly as I was at the time, which was a ferocious Manchester United person inside, never thought about anything else in my life, only United every single day. And the idea that someone would come into that changing room and not be at their best. I understood that he had circumstances but his people were in his ear all of the time, he was so led by his people. It was always going to come to an end like it did. I felt disappointed as a professional that he didn’t act the right way. I didn’t have a problem with players leaving the club like David Beckham left the club, Cristiano Ronaldo left the club, Ruud van Nistelrooy left the club, great, great players. But there was a way to leave the club and there was a way to behave when you were there. So the problem I had with Tevez wasn’t that he went to play for Manchester City - which in itself is a problem for me - that wasn’t the main issue, it was the way in which it played out in the last few months. I didn’t like it
2020 05 13b Retrieve
[Gary Neville says it wouldn’t be fair for Premier League relegation to be decided on a points-per-game basis if the season can’t be completed] I don’t believe relegation is fair on the points-per-game basis. I think that if football was going to be played, it’s right for football to be played for promotion and relegation. But I think on the points-per-game basis, to be relegated with nine games to go, with so much to play for, so tight at the bottom and with so much at stake, it doesn’t feel right to me, personally. I think it feels unfair. What we’ve seen in the last couple of weeks has been quite unsavoury. Clubs have been demonstrating their self-interest to try and jostle for positions. But the big six and the powerhouses at the top will always be able to have that thumb pressed down on the others somehow, because they do carry the weight
I do think it’s unfair for points per game for relegation. It’s important I voice that. It’s devastating going down at any time, but without even having the opportunity to defend yourself and play football matches would be too much
2020 05 15 Retrieve
[Neville responded with some statistics of his own, which showed Tevez scored 14 goals in 34 Premier League appearances in 2007-08, but only five in 29 games in 2008-09 as his form dropped away] The period after Christmas, where it was obvious United were not going to exercise the option, there is no doubt Carlos became disinterested, distracted, he wasn’t the same around the training ground, he went into a more sulky mood because the club were not signing him
Carlos’ performances in the second season dipped and he scored a lot less goals. My view is that there were a lot of complications for Carlos with the club not triggering his option. I don’t need to do my research on Carlos in the last five months at United, I was watching the boy
Carlos was a warrior on the football pitch, I’ve never seen anything more brilliant than him in the first season with Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo. However, in the last few months, the drop in his manner and his performances, maybe because he wasn’t being taken on by the club, was alarming
When I talk about people in his ear, Carlos had third-party ownership, I felt at the time there was so much distraction, so much noise about how much the third-party owners were going to make, these were things in Carlos’ ear all the time
He wasn’t being picked as much, he was a substitute, he was definitely a different person in the last five months at the club
2020 05 19 Retrieve
[Gary Neville warns more Premier League players could follow Deeney’s lead and refuse to return to training] I know there are Premier League clubs with five or six players who don’t want to return or are uncomfortable with certain things around stage two or three. I know there are Premier League clubs with five or six players who don’t want to return or are uncomfortable with certain things around stage two or three
I thought the way the Premier League wanted to go about restarting would revolve around players being quarantined not just for the 14 days before the first match but for a two-to-three-week period where they were going to shove the nine games so they could be played as quick as possible in a condensed period.
It would almost be like a World Cup where players are quarantined for a period. It’s not unusual for players to be away for four or five weeks before and then three weeks for a tournament - I’m not sure why the games have to be spread over five or six weeks
2020 05 25 Retrieve
[Neville believes more Premier League players will drop out due to coronavirus if 2019-20 season restarts] I think the clubs will unanimously vote to restart the season in the next few weeks. I think there will be a few more players who drop out. I don’t think it helps that the Premier League are relying on government advice and we are all watching what’s going on with the government at this moment in time. The Watford situation seems to have the most focus at this moment but Kante missing for Chelsea is an absolutely huge blow for them from a football point of view, but you completely understand it from a personal point of view. That situation seems to have been accepted more than the Watford situation because there is this doubt, this lingering doubt, that the clubs at the bottom are trying to exploit the situation.
Everyone’s saying it, the bottom six will be thinking, what’s the upside for us? They really will. They’d much prefer null and void but that doesn’t seem the scenario right now. Every single scenario has to get played out. They have to manage everything because you don’t know [what might happen]. If a load of players go down with coronavirus from a couple of teams, you have to then play out that situation - what if they can’t fulfil the fixtures? At least they’re doing it and fingers crossed, we can get football back on the menu very soon. I think relegation will happen and points-per-game will come into play if clubs for any reason can’t compete the season
2020 05 25b Retrieve
[Neville reveals how Man Utd legend maintained greatness] With Glenn [Hoddle], you weren’t allowed butter on your toast, weren’t allowed milk with your cereal in the morning, things like that. I remember Giggsy later in his career, when we were starting to learn about nutrition, and I asked him, ‘what would you do if you were in bad form?’ He said, ‘I’d take the butter off my toast to get that extra 0.01 per cent.’ Glenn was doing that in 1997 and 1998, he was prescribing what we would eat, how we would train. It was really, really detailed. He was prescribing every detail
The bar of chocolate that Doctor [John] Crane used to bring round under Terry, all of a sudden went, all the little things and you missed those things. You couldn’t go to the shop, the masseur had to go for you and get a magazine or a book, and it felt quite claustrophobic at times compared to what I’d experienced with Terry. Glenn was almost like an Italian-like coach. [Fabio] Capello was apparently the same when he came in. Glenn had worked in Monaco, had an eye for detail and his coaching sessions were outstanding and the way he wanted his team to play was fantastic, we passed the ball brilliantly, kept possession but it was that off the pitch bit I found difficult compared to Sir Alex and Terry previously
2020 05 27 Retrieve
[Neville opposed to delaying Premier League restart despite fitness concerns] Two or three weeks on top of the fitness work they’ve been doing at home feels about right. June 12 feels a touch early but there’s no reason to go beyond June 19 for a restart. I don’t see players’ fitness being a concern - I don’t see them needing four or five weeks. Even when they’ve had six weeks off for pre-season, within 10 days of going back in they’d be playing games again in pre-season. They wouldn’t be 100 per cent fit but these are uncharted times. I wouldn’t expect the players to be absolutely perfect. I feel two to three weeks is about right to get them back playing again. We’re constantly told throughout the season that players are overworked, play too many matches. What we can’t have is a situation where the players have had an eight-week break to then say they need six weeks of training to get back to fitness. That doesn’t feel right.
If Harry Kane was borderline fit for the European Championships and was going to be back two weeks before the tournament, he’d be saying he was fit and ready to go. I don’t see the difference with this situation. If this was a major cup final or league game, and a player had been out for eight weeks with an injury and he only had 10 days of training, he’d be fighting to get into that squad. I don’t buy into the need for an extended period of time
2020 05 30 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Man Utd can never play without academy graduates] Manchester United can never play without academy players in its first team squad. It is far too important a value to drop and that was something born out of the 1950s. I think Manchester United won the Youth Cup for the five or six years on the bounce with Bobby Charlton winning three of four of them. I think from those very early years the sort of academy was so important to the club and those principles. Even thinking about the simple things like the club blazer at Manchester United that was worn by the Busby Babes, you still see the Manchester United players wear to this day. You have to keep certain things the same. We know the rest of technology moves on and nutrition, sports science, everything moves forward but some things have to remain stable. And I think with Manchester United those things that were born in the 50s and 60s under Sir Matt Busby, culminating in that 1968 [European Cup] victory, it’s important that we still see values deployed at the club, and by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the first-team manager.
2020 06 12 Retrieve
[Gary Neville, after Greenwood rescued a point for Manchester United against Everton in December] I’d say Mason Greenwood is a better finisher than Marcus Rashford - and that’s saying something, he really does look the real deal
2020 06 15 Retrieve
[Gary Neville believes Alisson and not Virgil van Dijk is the main player to thank for Liverpool’s looming Premier League success] I think Alisson has made Liverpool win the league. When people talk about Van Dijk being the missing piece, I think that there is an element of that. But when I go back to two years or three years ago, I was very critical of the goalkeepers that were at Liverpool. I said I felt that they would never win the League while the current goalkeeper was in position. Jurgen Klopp came for me, I don’t know whether he was angry with me but he certainly had a go at me in the media. But soon as Allison came - I saw it at Manchester United with [Peter] Schmeichel then I saw it in that next spell where we had greatness with [Edwin] Van Der Sar. Once your goalkeeper is calm, authoritative, saves most shots on his goal, gives confidence to the rest of the team, the impact of that is absolutely incredible
[Neville wants to ensure the competition remains accessible for all fans across England] I would hope football uses this as a chance to reset - reset the pyramid, distribute the wealth more, give grassroots more and give the lower league clubs more. Make ourselves still the best league in the world but make it more affordable for fans to get into a stadium, make it more accessible, all the things that we know are right. There isn’t one single person in football or one single person in this country who wouldn’t believe that they are the right things in my mind, apart from potentially 14-15 Premier League owners. We have got to change
2020 06 15b Retrieve
[Gary Neville has spoken previously about football’s shutdown not being the same as the period of time between seasons] I would liken it to when a player has had a two-month injury. Most players at some point in their careers would have been out for this period of time. In those two months, you wouldn’t be doing any contact training whatsoever, you’d be doing a little bit of work with the physios maybe before getting back into training, and in the gym, but as soon as you went back into training with the team, within 10 days or two weeks of training, you’d be playing again. So I don’t understand why this is different from what would be an ordinary two-month injury lay-off
2020 06 17 Retrieve
[Gary Neville adamant David Luiz hasn’t learned from past mistakes] I have no words really. I’ve said everything I’ve got to say over the last few years. He never learns, he’s so rash. You’ve just got to let him go. We’ve seen so many times he’s been unable to let the first mistake go and that second one…off you go. City started playing well 25 minutes ago in this game - when David Luiz came on. He will never get rid of those kind of mistakes
2020 06 22 Retrieve
[Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville believes David de Gea is no longer the reliable player he once was for the club] He was the one player United could rely upon for the last four years but he’s not the same. He hasn’t been the same for some time. When form drops for six months it’s a blip but when it goes on for a year you start to worry. When it goes over two years it becomes more permanent. That is now a fair representation of what De Gea is as he’s making lots of mistakes. Ones he would never make - he was always somebody you could completely rely upon. It can only be a confidence thing. The arms, legs and body are the same - it’s got to be the mind. The reception he’s got in Spain has affected him. He’s even been booed by Spanish fans when he’s wearing the Spanish shirt. In the World Cup in 2018 he really struggled and from that he’s doubted himself. Mentally he’s not quite the same
2020 06 22b Retrieve
[Gary Neville says Paul Pogba is the one real world-class player in Manchester United’s squad] There’s no doubt that a committed Paul Pogba to Manchester United can be a great player. His assists, his goals, are good. They’ve been very good in the last couple of seasons. He’s up there with some of the very best in his position in Europe. It’s just the case of settling down. Hopefully with the economic problems around Europe, teams won’t be able to go out and spend 80, 90 or 100 million on new players, Manchester United will keep him and Paul Pogba will understand that he’s staying at Manchester United
That’s all I’ve ever asked of Paul Pogba, just commitment. His performances, I’ve never blamed him for Manchester United’s problems over the years. I do believe he’s the one real world-class player - David de Gea I would have said two years ago - in Manchester United’s squad. He’s the one who should be leading from the front, and if there’s continuous speculation over his future it isn’t helpful, it creates doubt in the dressing room. Now, I feel there’s a better chance of that team really succeeding, and I think they’ll play at Old Trafford on Wednesday night, and there won’t be any doubt that he’ll play with Bruno Fernandes
2020 06 24 Retrieve
[Gary Neville has urged caution over the prospect of Dean Henderson becoming first-choice goalkeeper at Manchester United next season, despite David de Gea’s indifferent form] David de Gea, for three or four years, was probably the best goalkeeper in the world - certainly the best in the Premier League. He was player of the year here and, in a very difficult period for Manchester United post Alex Ferguson, was a shining light. The only player really you would say could go into any other team in the Premier League, or the world. Since that 2018 World Cup, though, he’s had a real difficult time. What I don’t buy into is that Dean Henderson at Sheffield United, obviously from Manchester United on loan, can go into that goal in front of the Stretford End and adapt to what the demands are of being a Manchester United goalkeeper. It takes a special character to play in that goal. What I think David de Gea has done in the four or five year period before this last 18 months is build up a lot of credit, whereby he actually deserves a break, the idea he is given the opportunity to correct his form and get it back to where it needs to be.
When a goalkeeper, or any player, goes through a rough patch it’s mentally tough. He’s at one of the biggest clubs in the world and the scrutiny is on him constantly. There is no escape at this club - and that is why I’d be a little bit cautious around Dean Henderson. That is a lonely old place out there to make a mistake if you’re a Manchester United goalkeeper. With respect to Sheffield United, it’s very different making a mistake for Sheffield United.
To make that decision, which is a huge call, to say that Dean Henderson comes back to Old Trafford and is the number one, you’re essentially dismissing David de Gea and what he’s done for the club over the past seven or eight years. I would just urge caution on that, at this moment in time.
I’ve seen it before with players during my period at the club. We had two great goalkeepers during my time - Peter Schmeichel at the beginning and Edwin van der Sar at the end. In between that, there were real challenges with goalkeepers. At times there were young goalkeepers who were talented but found it very difficult to cope with the scrutiny, plus the levels of concentration that are required.
2020 06 26 Retrieve
[Neville has stated that he believes United could force their way back into title contention next season] I don’t know why it is but I feel a little more confident in Manchester United’s ability to challenge next season just because of what’s happened and the fact that they started to play a lot better before lockdown
2020 07 01 Retrieve
[Neville joked to after being asked about the new kings of the Premier League ahead of Manchester United’s trip to Brighton] How’s it been these last few days? It’s not been particularly great! It’s an incredible achievement. It’s been coming for a couple of years. They were knocking on the door last season - Manchester City had to be at their absolute best. Jurgen Klopp has turned £30m players into £130m ones. He’s turned £75m players into £150m ones. The recruitment has been brilliant, the coaching has been brilliant and it all comes from the manager. It’s a day I don’t like - I’d seen enough of it in my childhood years - but you have to congratulate them
[Speaking earlier in more depth about the Reds’ title glory] They have absolutely been the best team this season. What Jurgen Klopp has done has been fantastic. He came in four years ago and at the time I never thought Liverpool were capable of mounting a Premier League title challenge. It just felt like all of the other clubs had bigger budgets
Liverpool were in a deep rut over many, many years. They have great history and a great fanbase so you can never write clubs like that off, but to go and win a league title ahead of the investment of Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United is something I didn’t think was possible
What Klopp has done over a three or four-year period has been absolutely outstanding. Everything at a football club comes from the manager, he sets the tone for everybody; the players, the owners, the fanbase. Klopp has galvanised Liverpool over a three-year period, brought everybody with him and put a brilliant team together
They’re a fantastic team, they’ve been brilliant to watch for three years but painful for me. It’s been coming. When you get to a Champions League final and lose you have a little smirk, but when they won the Champions League the following year and chased Manchester City like they did to a point where they would have been worthy champions last season, you can only congratulate them
It’s obviously something that is horrible for every Manchester United fan, it’s something the modern Manchester United fan has never seen but as one who watched them in the ’70s and ’80s it’s a moment we didn’t want to see again but one we saw a lot of in our early years
It’s a brilliant achievement from Klopp, to work within the net spend budget he has to amass that team has been a combination of great coaching and brilliant recruitment. The club’s recruitment has been absolutely spot on, precise, laser-focused, every single player they have brought in they have made count. Every single player fits a mould, the principles of Klopp, there has been no veering away from that
From day one, when Christian Benteke and a few others were deemed not to fit the profile they were moved aside. Klopp has now got quick, energetic strikers who make the runs, a formidable defence, the best goalkeeper in the world at the moment in time, and in midfield he’s got reliable players with really good personalities in Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, James Milner and Gini Wijnaldum. None of them are individually outstanding or the best in the world in their position, but together as a collective with that goalkeeper, that defence, those full-backs, that strike force, they become the rock in the middle of it all
2020 07 01b Retrieve
[Mason Greenwood giving Manchester United new dimension on right wing] He has justified his selection on that right side. It is getting to the point now where it is going to be impossible to leave him out. He reminds me so much of Robin van Persie, when he cuts in on his left foot off that right side, the composure and technique
2020 07 01c Retrieve
[Neville: United still have work to do] The team is a lot more likeable than the one which was here two years ago, when you thought Manchester United’s recruitment had lost direction. But I would urge some caution. Manchester United are sixth in the Premier League, they have a squad which is improving, with young players. But there is still some work to be done in the transfer market to get this team to a title-winning team - which has to be Manchester United’s ambition. There is a lot more needed - three or four players of high quality, of the Bruno Fernandes type, to get them to the point where they can challenge
2020 07 02 Retrieve
[Gary Neville were not impressed with Alonso’s casual tracking of Yarmolenko for West Ham’s late winner] Look at him, look at him! What are you doing, Marcos Alonso? There’s his running back speed which has cost Chelsea the game. Alonso is level with him at the point the counter starts. He doesn’t bother, that’s why he’s under pressure at this club and Frank Lampard will see that. Run back as fast as you can when your team lose the ball, you learn that aged six.
2020 07 03 Retrieve
[Kevin De Bruyne was the star as Manchester City thrashed Liverpool] The stand-out player. He makes it look so simple. It is effortless for him. He does not project himself like a brand so he maybe does not get the attention that others get
[The even trickier pass that he managed to thread in behind just before the half-hour mark] You think he can’t squeeze it through. It is so good watching him play
2020 07 03b Retrieve
[Man City hammered Liverpool in the Premier League on Thursday] Andrew Robertson has been outstanding for Liverpool for the past two seasons but he is playing tonight as if he has had a week on the lash. He is getting played around
2020 07 03c Retrieve
[Premier League champions Liverpool were brought back down to earth as they were thrashed 4-0 by Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium] They are entitled to a night off
2020 07 07 Retrieve
[Carlo Ancelotti has Everton going in the right direction but this was a reminder that there is some way still to go] The biggest job that Carlo Ancelotti has is to change the mentality. You just sometimes feel that Everton start a game, they look promising, and then all of a sudden a goal goes in against them and their inferiority complex means they lose belief, particularly in big games. There is no need. They have talented players. Get on the ball. Get to the ball
It is a big task and it is a big club. He has just got to shift the mindset. It is almost as though the players feel they don’t belong. They don’t really believe they should beat big teams and belong in these big games. I hope the Everton players don’t get on the bus and think they were unlucky. It has not been good enough. It has been boring
2020 07 08 Retrieve
[Neville: Pulisic growing into something special] He’s impressing me enormously. He gets one on one [with the defender]. Joel Ward does all he can to force him on the outside. You don’t expect him to do that. Ordinarily you’d say the goalkeeper [has to do better] but he has no chance. It was so fast. It was devastating from Pulisic. Hazard did it over a long period of time during a fantastic career at Chelsea. He was nowhere near that world-class level when he signed but we’re witnessing him grow and there’s something special there.
2020 07 08b Retrieve
[Premier League drinks break - is it fair?] I can understand the hydration points are important for the prevention of injuries but it just feels forced a little bit. The game is being played at a less-than Premier League pace
They are more tactical breaks than a drinks break. They are mini team-talks, every single one of them. I’m not quite sure they were designed for that. I think we need to stop it, I do honestly. It’s something I can understand as a player but they’ve had a few games back now. Their fitness levels should be up to a standard. It’s not hot at all. If it was then fair enough.
2020 07 09 Retrieve
[Jorginho could yet have vital Chelsea role to play] I think Frank Lampard will have to change the midfield. It’s getting overrun. It’s a bit lightweight
The biggest job that Carlo Ancelotti has is to change the mentality. You just sometimes feel that Everton start a game, they look promising, and then all of a sudden a goal goes in against them and their inferiority complex means they lose belief, particularly in big games. There is no need. They have talented players. Get on the ball. Get to the ball
It is a big task and it is a big club. He has just got to shift the mindset. It is almost as though the players feel they don’t belong. They don’t really believe they should beat big teams and belong in these big games. I hope the Everton players don’t get on the bus and think they were unlucky. It has not been good enough. It has been boring
2020 07 10 Retrieve
[Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood changing everything] This next six months is going to be really, really difficult. I can’t believe that the investment that has been put into the squad over the last five, six or seven years, and you end up with that out on the pitch. I cannot believe it
[Fernandes’ shot volume coupled with Greenwood’s increase in game time is proving a game changer] The biggest change in this United team is that it is now capable of playing more than just counter-attack. You got the feeling that when they could not play counter-attack they were thwarted going forward but they are much better at building now through midfield and creating opportunities against packed defences. Is that back five good enough for where he wants to go? I think the answer is no
2020 07 10b Retrieve
[Gary Neville: Man Utd have the makings of formidable attack] Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane are matured, they are established, they are the real deal - the best front three in the Premier League. I was saying that even when Manchester City were winning the league
The three that United have got are not at the level of Liverpool’s front three yet, you wouldn’t expect them to be, but they have the talent and ability. There were questions whether Rashford was good enough, whether Martial was good enough and Greenwood hadn’t obviously emerged back then, but they are proving they are good enough, that they can play and that they will get better. The Liverpool front three are ahead, but it is exciting for Manchester United. If you believe in young players and give them opportunities in the positions they want to play in, you will be amazed what you can achieve.
[Neville believes Greenwood already stands above Rashford and Martial in the pecking order at Old Trafford] I think Greenwood will develop into a central striker naturally over time. There will come a time when he will step up, he’s stepping up game by game now. He is outstanding, his talent is incredible. He has everything, the composure, the receiving of the ball, the awareness, the finishing ability. You look at Martial, Rashford and Greenwood and think who you would put your money on to finish from all areas of the field. Inside the box, outside the box, left foot, right foot - it would be Greenwood. He’s 18 and that is the exciting part. It’s a no-brainer for him to be in and around the England squad. Gareth Southgate is getting more and more options by the month, players a being developed and are breaking into top teams now. Greenwood is such a brilliant talent, if he continues to work hard and keeps his feet on the ground, he can be anything he wants
Manchester United are playing with confidence, arrogance, particularly against teams that are in the lower end of the table, teams they have struggled to break down in the past. They look authoritative, they have possession, control and patience. They are so sure now that they can go from walking to injecting quality through Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, Greenwood, Martial, Rashford. They have so many options and United are looking formidable. They are still not there in terms of Manchester City and Liverpool, that is where they need to get to, but they are on an upward trajectory and are certainly looking a lot better than they were.
There is cause for optimism. You were thinking there wasn’t a midfield, that Pogba was going to leave, they didn’t have a right winger and all of a sudden Greenwood appears, the back four and goalkeeper have looked shaky at times, but they are getting themselves together. It’s looking a lot more positive. It’s not a time to get carried away, it’s still a time to invest and improve the squad but it is a lot better for Solskjaer
Leicester have had a great season, for them to be in front of United at this stage is a great achievement. But you would be surprised if United didn’t go and follow this through. They’ve got a good run of fixtures and have got Leicester to play as well. But you would be surprised if United didn’t go and follow this through. They’ve got a good run of fixtures and have got Leicester to play as well. United look so dominant at this moment in time. You’d almost like to see them playing the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City to see where they are, although that could come in the FA Cup and Europa League games. It’s been comfortable for United in recent weeks and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will want those big tests because they look ready for them. They have looked so comfortable in games and they will go on to have a really good season. At times this season I wondered what was going to happen, but I think they will overtake Leicester and get into the Champions League, and they could even win a trophy with it all to play for in the two cup competitions they are still in
2020 07 13 Retrieve
[Man City ruling: Gary Neville says Financial Fair Play ‘needed this slap around the face’] UEFA can’t get a simple disciplinary hearing right - we’ve known that for years and years - and they’re certainly not going to be able to get something right that’s complex
They’re an organisation that is ultimately transitioning away from what it has been in the past and this is in some ways a hangover from something that started a few years ago. But it’s no surprise that in a serious court that Man City have won this case because UEFA are an organisation that simply cannot organise their own disciplinary measures
The idea that they could take on a Manchester City legal machine that were going to throw everything at this and rightly so, not just because they’ve got the money but because they’re defending their reputation, they were always going to come unstuck
I know that’s not what was being debated in the courtroom and legalities of it, but I don’t believe in FFP. I think FFP needed this slap around the face. I said a few months ago, FFP would have prevented Jack Walker doing what he did 30 years ago at Blackburn
I know people have issues around potential owners, state ownership and other models but the reality is we’re not talking about that here, we’re talking about Financial Fair Play, the finances and people who can invest into football clubs
It’s fundamentally wrong that there are restrictions placed on owners to put money into football clubs. Whether it’s Chelsea, Man City or Blackburn, all those stories we’ve had in the Premier League over the last 20 years or so, the addition to challenging Manchester United, Arsenal and other clubs wouldn’t have happened if FFP had been implemented in its truest form. I don’t believe it’s right. There has always been rich owners investing into football clubs and that won’t change today. FFP needs changing to a different model
An owner should have to fulfil the obligations he commits to - that is my take on how to create a sustainability model at a football club
If Manchester City are signing contracts worth £200m for the next four years and they have the obligations placed on the club, they should have the money to be able to fulfil that. If the loss per year is £50m, the owner should, whether it’s through a bank guarantee or a bond, have to fulfil the obligations they commit to. They shouldn’t be able to leave what are essentially community assets in a mess
We’ve seen it at lower league levels and at the top of the game, owners have to have the money they commit to - that’s it, as far as I’m concerned. So you need a test that has that as its fundamental, not one that restricts people. If you’ve got a trillion quid and you spend a couple of billion, that’s fine. If you spend 100 grand and you’ve only got 50, that’s not fine
It’s not about the amount of money someone puts into a football club, it’s about whether than can afford it and it’s a test that needs creating based on that foundation
[Neville: A big relief for Man City] It [the ruling] is not surprising. It’s a big relief for Manchester City, not just with what they want to achieve in the immediate term, but it would have left a stain on the club in terms of the trophies over the last few years if they had been found guilty of it… and they would have been worthless in a lot of people’s eyes
In terms of attracting players, that was being questioned and whether current players would want to stay at the highest level so all of those things will be a relief but I imagine it’s the fact that today, they’ve got through a serious court and overturned the UEFA decision
It also allows them to move forward, sign players and do the things that they want and it won’t be held against them as in ‘I’m not signing because you’re not in Europe’ or ‘Pep’s leaving because they’re not a part of the Champions League’, all that sort of stuff has gone away now
It doesn’t affect those teams in the essence of they’ll have to go and win those games like they always thought they would have to. I don’t think Manchester United would have been banking on what happened with City and I don’t think Chelsea or Leicester would have been either
They would have benefited from it but they wouldn’t have been banking on it. They have to win football matches and they can’t have any complaints if they finish fifth and are out of the Champions League on the chance that Man City lose some legal case in Europe somewhere.
2020 07 13b Retrieve
[Gary Neville on UEFA’s regulations FFP] It’s fundamentally wrong that there are restrictions placed on owners to put money into football clubs. Whether it’s Chelsea, Man City or Blackburn, all those stories we’ve had in the Premier League over the last 20 years or so, the addition to challenging Manchester United, Arsenal and other clubs wouldn’t have happened if FFP had been implemented in its truest form. I don’t believe it’s right. There has always been rich owners investing into football clubs and that won’t change today. FFP needs changing to a different model
An owner should have to fulfil the obligations he commits to - that is my take on how to create a sustainability model at a football club
If Manchester City are signing contracts worth £200m for the next four years and they have the obligations placed on the club, they should have the money to be able to fulfil that. If the loss per year is £50m, the owner should, whether it’s through a bank guarantee or a bond, have to fulfil the obligations they commit to. They shouldn’t be able to leave what are essentially community assets in a mess.
2020 07 14 Retrieve
[Manchester United 2-2 Southampton - Match report and highlights] Manchester United will need Anthony Martial in that near post space that he takes up
2020 07 14b Retrieve
[Oriol Romeu caught Mason Greenwood on the ankle, but referee Chris Kavanagh did not penalise the midfielder, who also escaped punishment upon VAR review] Oooooh. Do I not like that. I think that’s a bad one. The ball has gone; I think he’s lucky there, Romeu. He tried to do him. They can be leg-breakers, those ones
2020 07 15 Retrieve
[Gary Neville says the club must spend in this summer’s transfer window with four or five additions needed to challenge for the Premier League title] I think they need a winger. I think they need a centre forward, I think they need a centre back, they need a proper challenge for David de Gea and then at left-back, they maybe need something if Luke Shaw gets injured. For me, they need four or five players to get into a position where they can challenge for a title
2020 07 18 Retrieve
[Gary Neville believes Kane will be at Spurs next season] It’s interesting as to where Tottenham go. You look at Harry Kane, and I’m sure Harry Kane will be at Tottenham next season, but there is more doubt than before, and I think that Tottenham fans won’t thank me for saying that. But both him and Declan Rice they are the type of players who teams above them will want, because they’re gold. They’re players who will be around for five to 10 years at the top of their games!
2020 07 18b Retrieve
[Gary Neville says fans are the only thing missing from positive Premier League restart] We are now seeing games that, were they to be played in front of fans, they would create great atmospheres. In the first couple of weeks of restart I found it tough getting used to the conditions of having no fans in the stadiums. Games were played at such a slow pace, it was cautious, players were struggling for match fitness and it was nothing like Premier League football. Now we’re at the stage where there is a level of intensity, tackles are flying in and we are seeing the type of game you would expect when fans are in the stadiums. We are getting to a higher level; players are a lot sharper and clever with their movement
[Nev: Players demonstrating discipline and sacrifice] The players have responded well, and the restart has been handled incredibly well. It surprises me every week when we get the positive test results. I expected there to be very few positives tests in the early days when players were returning to training because they had been in lockdown, like we all had. I thought there would be more as the country mobilised and the restaurants started to open, but the players have demonstrated an incredible amount of discipline. We’ve hardly seen any positive cases because they are obviously managing themselves well. I expected to see a situation where you would see 20, 30 positive cases and I feared a club may have to drop out. If the players and their families went back out into their normal lives, I only thought football could restart if the players were in a bio-bubble. But we are still seeing so few positive cases and clubs are not playing games without a host of players and for that I am grateful because that really would have been a massive issue in terms of integrity. With Champions League places up for grabs, relegation at stake, if clubs have players missing against a rival that would have been huge. But the restart has been managed incredibly well by the Premier League, the privacy element over testing has been important, and the players and their families have demonstrated an incredible amount of discipline otherwise there would have been more positive tests. We’re not talking about robots here; we’re talking about human beings who do normal things. To only have one, two or three positive tests among the thousands of players and staff in this league demonstrates there is an incredible amount of discipline and sacrifice that exists in football. Footballers are ridiculed when they make a mistake, but they should also be praised when they do things well
[Nev: Return of fans signals a return to normality] I was at West Ham for their win over Chelsea. Had fans been in the stadium when Andriy Yarmolenko scored that late winner, the place would have been bouncing, absolutely rocking. We need that day back. There is no doubt we have to get people back into cities and towns, otherwise the economy will fall over. Manchester and London have been ghost towns compared to what they would usually be and the impact of that is bad on people. From a health point of view they have to make sure people feel safe for fans to return and that it is the right time to do so. Football is being used as a boost. The message to everyone is that football is back, you can watch Premier League football now, but fans will be back in stadiums in two months. Once people get back into stadiums, they’ll probably be back in the pub and then they will think they can get back to the office. All of a sudden that feeling of normality resumes and people will go out again. Yes, we will have to social distance, wear masks and make sure we’re sensible and wash our hands, but there is no doubt the government are moving towards that. The announcement Boris Johnson made could well have been the one that had most impact in demonstrating a return to normality. That’s the power of football in this country, it can create change. Football and footballers can make big changes and have an impact beyond what they do on the pitch and the government have recognised and used that over the last few months in this country