After a brilliant season for Gary Neville working for Sky Sports, with even the most passionate fans who hated Neville throughout his United career acknowledging how good his punditry is, Roy Hodgson asked the former United captain to join the England coaching staff for the Euros.
“A lot of people thought he might be biased towards Manchester United but, watching the games and hearing his opinions, I don’t think he has,” said Lescott. “He probably has (said bad things about him). But he’s very professional in what he does. His comments are fair and valid. He is level across the board, so it’s easier to take the criticism if he’s giving you any.”
Lescott used to play alongside Gary’s brother, Phil, when he was at Everton and so was already familiar with the Neville work ethic.
“He told me to stay away from the chocolate cake which was there for dessert. It was just banter,” added Lescott. “Gary gets his message across and addresses everyone in the squad individually. He’s been brought in to communicate with the boys. He passes on his experience of games he’s been involved in over the years, so I think he’s a great addition. I know Phil more than Gary and they’re both natural-born winners. He is definitely someone I respect with what he has achieved in football and the way he conducts himself. Knowing Phil, they are both very professional in what they do. They sacrificed a lot to get to where they are, so he is someone I look up to. If coaches and staff feel it’s the time to address you, they will. But it’s more natural for Gary to do that and he will feel closer to the players. It can come across a bit differently from Gary because he’s only been out the game a year or so. I’ve not worked with him before and I’ve enjoyed his punditry over the last season so hopefully he can bring that level of humour into the squad.”