One of the worries I’ve had this summer is about the number of experienced players, who have been brought up in the United way, have left the club this year. Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, John O’Shea and Wes Brown have all moved on, whether to retirement or another club, and I can’t help but wonder whether this will have any effect on the players coming up through the ranks at the moment. Our younger lads have been kept in line by the more experienced ones, who know all about how to get in to the first team from the academy, and we’ll miss the presence of the players mentioned above.
Gary Neville has today talked about his role as one of the elders at the club, whilst also reflecting on who he looked up to when making his way through the ranks in the club.
“Some players will get their representatives to go to David Gill, the chief executive,” he said. “But most would go to the manager because, quite honestly, if he said you weren’t getting a new contract there’s no point taking it any further. I know the manager still looks over all the young players’ contracts because I’ve done quite a few with him over the last few years for those players. It’s an experienced player role and something I did for a few years. When I was younger it would be Bryan Robson doing it, or Brian McClair. A young player might be nervous going to see the manager, so they come to you for help. I did the same. I went to see Bryan Robson about my very first contract and Brian McClair helped me, Butty and Scholesy with our second contracts. I’m not sure it’s normal at all clubs but it’s normal here.”