Gary Neville saw out the first half for United in our friendly against Aberdeen yesterday, in a match that we won 2-0.
After making just one appearance for the first team last season, coming on in the second half against Roma in the Champions League, Neville is eager to prove his fitness and fight for his place in the squad.
Whilst a United lad through and through, so overjoyed at last season’s successes by default, he will have been bitterly disappointed that he missed out on lifting the trophies. In Moscow, he celebrated with the players on the pitch, suited up, but his aim next season is to be in the thick of the action, with just one year remaining on his contract.
“I’m into the last year of my contract, so I’ve got to do my best and try to maintain my existence at United because this is the only club I want to play football for,” said Neville. “It’s difficult as regards the future because at the age of 33 or 34 you have to start thinking about what you are going to do once you stop. At that age you feel like you are about to fall off a cliff because there’s nothing you can do to replicate the last 15 years. You have to try to find something. Hopefully I can keep that at bay for two years.”
Neville believes that the progression to management is unavoidable for him, and will follow the many players who have worked under Sir Alex Ferguson in to taking a coaching role.
“I have done my coaching badges in the summer – along with Ryan Giggs and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer,” he added. “But although the two weeks were good fun and hard work, it doesn’t replace actually playing. What it did do was make me think about the fact I hadn’t played for more than 12 months and that I’ve got to make the most of the next season and play for as long as I possibly can.”
Will Neville get his first team place back next season?
Made in Manchester is available for just £3. Some of the best football writers take a player each, from Sir Bobby Charlton to Ryan Giggs, George Best to David Beckham, Duncan Edwards to Paul Scholes, and many more, with 30 articles in total. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.