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Is Neville Playing As Well As Ferguson Thinks?

With Gary Neville’s proposed date for his return to injury set back so many times, United fans began to worry whether their captain would ever be able to hold down a place in our team again. Like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before him, would Neville be forced in to retirement because of his reoccurring injuries?

That question has seemingly been answered by the three 90 minute stints our skipper has enjoyed this season, against Villarreal, Chelsea and Bolton, getting better with every game.

Sir Alex Ferguson has sung Neville’s praises, claiming our captain has played convincingly in his games so far, but is he right?

“When you consider the way Gary has been plagued by injuries for 18 months, he has done brilliantly to come back so convincingly,” said Ferguson. “At one point I thought he would not make it back into the Premier League. But he has and all credit to him. He persevered and never lost faith, despite the succession of niggles and strains that followed his ankle injury. He is a role model for any player feeling down on his luck.”

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Stephen says:

    He certainly looks very shaky and lucky not to be sent off against Chelscum, Wes has not done anything wrong and in my view should play.
    My gut feeling is that maybe his time has come in our first team, I love him to bits but time waits for no man.

  2. North Stand,Tier 3,Back Row says:

    He’s not back to his best, and mightn’t get there at all to be fair. But he definitely needs a good few games under his belt before we’ll know for sure what way he’s gonna go, he was out a long time with a collecetion of niggling injuries.
    I think he deserves to be given time though, he above all else playing at the moment deserves it. Its harsh on Wes, and he did nothing wrong to be dropped, but I for one think sentiment does have a place in our club, and I love seeing Neville togging out for us, and leading the team out. He’s a great captain – so I say give the man a bit more time…

  3. theboy says:

    i wouldn’t play him ahead of wesley, as wesley was quality for us last season, and seemed a lot more confident going forward. he even popped up with a couple of goals, which we all know gnev doesn’t.

    he is a playing legend gnev, but i don’t agree with sentiment in football, and would probably even play rafael ahead of neville.

    and above all this, and i know this might provoke an angry response, the guy is a cunt (off the pitch). i’ve heard numerous stories, some of which i know to be fact, where he has behaved in a shocking manner, to fans of a club he’s supposed to love. but that’s another point all together.

  4. North Stand,Tier 3,Back Row says:

    Give your examples on Neville being a c*nt…


    I went for a meal with garry neville a few years back at the Midland… and he is a really nice fella….and has been one of the best right backs this country and united have ever had… BUT>……

    I think he has had his day… squad player yes as back up… but he doesnt have the pace anymore… and you need more to your game than what Garry has got…

    You need to almost like a winger… and for me… Nev’s crossing aint the best… hasnt been since Becks left..

    I really would say to Rafael… here is a chance… go for it..

    The kid has the ability… and in a good way got a bit of cockyness about him… which i like… as do all the OT faithful…

    I believe if you play Rafael… you will get even more out of Ronaldo and Nani…

    But i do think Nev’s days are numbered… as are Schole’s… and i never thought i would ever say that coz he is a legend for us..

    The time comes when ya need to hang the boots up… i believe Robbo played on for 2 more years than what he should have… and he was my football hero as a kid

  6. North Stand,Tier 3,Back Row says:

    I appreciate what you’re saying FAILSWORTHDEVIL, and I agree with alot of it. The point I was making was that while Neville looks like he’s struggling to get back to the pace of the game, that he above most if not all others deserves a bit of time to prove himself before he is disgarded for good. I dont mean leave him there for the season, for better or worse.
    Fergie wont risk our season by watching Gary getting repeatedly skinned, so as long as Fergie thinks theres ANY chance he’ll do a job for us, I’d stick with him.
    While he doesn’t have the goal threat Wes has, or the ability and speed of Da Silva, his leadership skills and ability to motivate, encourage and drive us on is invaluable. He hates to lose, especially to our main rivals, and he’s a local lad, which is important.
    But if he just isnt up to the mark anymore, yeah its time to shift him, I just think he deserves a little more time.
    And THEBOY, Im still waiting for your response – you cant come on here and say something like that, and not back it up…

  7. RedMist says:

    Gary Neville = Liability.

    He was lucky not to see red against Chelsea for those two ridiculous challenges in the second half.

    No pace, getting caught out of position as a result and leaving us exposed.
    He shouldn’t really even be captain given that your captain should be playing EVERY week.

    A great servent for the club but to keep in the first eleven for much longer could be costly. Giggs and Scholes can get away with losing a little pace, or making the odd (fairly common) mistake because they have the back four behind them, when Neville gets caught out it can be much more dangerous.

  8. theboy says:

    North Stand,Tier 3,Back Row – my mate at work, who’s a stretford lad and a lifelong red, took his 7 year old son (and 6 year old cousin) down to carrington to hopefully get a few autographs of the players.
    It was last year when Neville was getting his fitness back, and came out of carrington on a bike, in company with a trainer. My mates lad approaches Neville and asks for an autograph. Neville says he’s going for a bike ride, but will give an autograph when he gets back.
    Mates lad waits in the pissing rain for over an hour, when Neville returns. Lad asks for autograph, at which point Neville shouts, “fuck off, i’m busy” and cycles back into carrington, leaving my mates lad in tears. This is to a 7 & 6 year old. My mate nearly chinned Neville.
    I know there are plenty of stories you have to take with a pinch of salt, but my mate loves united, and to that point had a lot of time for Neville.
    I met him in the Griffin in Bowdon once, along with the whole United team, and he was a prick towards me, even though I only wanted to shake his hand. He’s an arrogant prick, who I have little or no time for. (The same night Keano bought me a pint in the same pub. World of difference).

  9. North Stand,Tier 3,Back Row says:

    Thats fair enough theboy, I’ll take your word for it, and in which case its very bad form. We all have bad days, me more than most, and I dont know Gary personally at all, so I cant defend him (hopefully someone else here can? Although saying that, 100 good stories cant make up for telling a 6 year old to ‘fuck off’).
    I can understand why that could sway you away from Neville playing 1st choice, on top of his poor enough form since his return. My point was just that with his service to our club, and dedication and love of the club which is on a par with the most die hard of United fans, he deserves a fair crack at claiming his spot back, cause if he loses it now, he could be finished really…

  10. Scott the Red says:

    Yeh sorry, I’ve heard plenty of stories about Gary Neville. My mates’ missus works at Carrington and she can’t stand him!

  11. theboy says:

    don’t get me wrong, he’s been quality for us, and his celebrations at OT against the vermin was quality. it just seems that he’s lost it off the field. shame, because his younger brother is a much nicer fella.

  12. North Stand,Tier 3,Back Row says:

    Fair enough lads, sounds like he isnt the best off the pitch, which is a shame. Still, when we’re going into battle against any of the other top four teams in the real crunch games, I love to have a fully fit flying Gary Neville playing, his determination is infectious. But if he cant reproduce the form of old, then yeah, he should move on. Hopefully he has a bit left in the tank though…

  13. Tevratov says:

    Gary can’t handle the pace and relies on rio and fletch to his job. He’s a liability, used to be solid but now looks a shadow of his former self.

  14. Drew Vader says:

    If I was Wes, I would be looking for answers as to what exactly has happened to cause him to be demoted to the bench….Actually, he wasn’t even on the bench yesterday.

  15. john ferry says:

    True, was Wes on the bench ? Is he injured ? Neville Should be playing coming off the bench ? Coming off the bench he could be our defensive Whatever the case may be, you must love is contempt for liverfool, chelski, and assrenal.

  16. Tom F says:

    Shame to hear things like that about Neville. You don’t think that people who you look up to when you are younger or those who you cheer on every week would turn out to be total arseholes.

    Rio Ferdinand for all his quality can be a right moody bastard too sometimes. Based on the 3 times he has come in to my place of work, everyone have always said he comes across very rude. Saying that, a workmate got an autograph out of him.

    As for the point, I think Neville has done well for a guy who has been out for so long. He has been getting down the wing pretty well too but he still isn’t doing as well as Wes. Get Wes back in to the starting line-up the poor sod.

  17. Gopher Brown says:

    His positional play against Chelsea was excellent, far superior to Wes. Wes just has (a bit) more pace to get him out of situations. Attacking wise though, Wes is streets ahead, which is surprising for a centre-back. I’d have Wes.

  18. OTRed says:

    Thanks, but his had it, I’m tired of all the sentiments been attached to him, He WAS a great player and a great servant to the club, but not anymore. Brown had his best season last year in all the 9 years he’s been here, and Neville should be the one getting Carling Cup games and fighting for a place, not Neville.

  19. A MAN UNITED FAN says:

    saf just said he’ll play his strongest team tonight

    brown got the nod

  20. denton davey says:

    Gary Neville is a fighter. But, he’s now an old fighter.

    Wesley Brown is a hard man. A hard man in the prime of his career, having overcome a long list of injuries to become the player we were all told he could be as “the best natural defender” SAF had ever seen.

    To me, it’s a no-contest decision. The fly in the ointment for Wesley is not Gary Neville but the kid, da Silva, who offers exceptional speed and attacking ability from the wing which is not something that Wesley provides.

    Like Giggs – and, to a certain extent, Paul Scholes – Gary Neville has entered the last phase of his career. He brings experience and incredible desire to the party but he’s lost a step (or two) and gets found out when he’s up-against a top-quality opponent. All three of these LOCAL GUYS have been fantastic, fantastic, fantastic players – and all three have the medals to prove it, too. But time moves on – for all of us.

  21. Tom F says:

    I agree, Neville will always be a Red Legend, but Wesley is what matters now. The future is bright, the future is orange.

  22. Jay says:

    Whoever the fuck said scholes days are numbered is thinking through his Godamn ass

  23. suhayl says:

    You guys are sooooo fuckin fickle its unreal….yes he’s a knob ff the pitch…every tom dick and harry has known that for years. And thats why he’s hated more by opposing fans than robbie savage.

    But you seem to forget that he has been the most dependable steady reliable consistnent right backs in world football for a decade. England and 80 odd caps tell you that. Not to mention his sporadic awesome performances in the centre of defence. Ofcourse after missing nearly 18 months, he aint going to be at full pelt automatically within 2 or 3 games..could take him a couple of months.

    And after his record…his loyalty..his CV…him being the captain…we deserve to give him a chance. Blimey fickle lot. And by the way Yeh ws brown maybe a little just a little quicker or younger. But no can say he’s a better defender than nevo….and thats the most important thing. And wesley isnt even a right back…so there goes that argument. NEVS is an out and out right back. If Rafael was knocking hard on the door ok. But nevo needs game time and he will proove himself again..touchwood remaining injury free.


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