There are reports today suggesting that David Moyes is interested in bringing Gary Neville to Everton. Whilst there’s every chance that story is fabricated bullshit, it does raise some interesting questions.
It has always been assumed that Neville would end his career with United, but now that he’s approaching 34-years-old and in possession of a contract that finishes at the end of the season, is there a chance he could leave in the summer?
Word at Carrington is Neville has turned over a new leaf. No longer the grumpy bossy-boots, rather, always willing to do any signings for charity and eager to get along with everyone. He knows his time is up and this sickly sweet behaviour could all be interpreted as him trying to ensure he gets a coaching contract.
Or is Neville really hankering after another playing contract? There’s no denying he’s still a good enough player to keep going, but evidence from the season so far would suggest he isn’t good enough to keep going for United. Rafael is a far better option and when Wes Brown returns from injury, Neville could find himself third in pecking order. There are just one or two games left in the League Cup, every game counts in the Champions League and we need to pick up every point going in the League. This really only leaves the FA Cup for Gary to be a regular starter, which is a bit humiliating if we’re honest.
So, if he doesn’t get this playing contract with us, will he look elsewhere? The enemy of your enemy is your friend, meaning Everton might be a desirable club for Neville. I’m sure once it had gone through the Everton fans would get quite a buzz of having the dipper’s biggest hate figure in their ranks.
He has had a great career and if he is ready to hang up his boots, I am certain we’d make room on our coaching staff for him somewhere. Sir Alex Ferguson has always encouraged important former players to have an active role in the club, which is why the likes of Sir Bobby Charlton, Bryan Robson and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are still deeply involved in the club.
If he’s not ready to give it up though, I can’t see how he will remain at United. Of course, there’s time for him to get up to fitness and prove himself, and whilst I’m usually more optimistic than most, I can’t quite believe that it will happen. The primary role of a full back at United is bombing down the wing to support the attack, whilst being able to bomb back down the wing again if the opposition counter. These are qualities I don’t think Neville will ever regain to a sufficient level to be in our squad.
Of course I’d prefer he stuck around but if he really is keen on still playing, we might be saying farewell to him in a few months time.