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PNev: I nailed my colours to the mast

In an interview with The Guardian, Phil Neville has talked about his time at Everton, following his transfer to the Merseyside club in 2005.

David Moyes made Neville his captain, much to the amusement of Liverpool supporters, but he didn’t feel as though he was really accepted until he had been at the club for a few years.

“He made me captain after a month,” he said. “If I’m honest, I didn’t want it. I just wanted to bed in and get a few mates. I really didn’t want the captaincy and for 18 months it was really difficult, the most difficult period of my career. There was a lot of scepticism from the other players. I was close to the boss and I can understand if they were suspicious of me. They had just finished fourth, they had qualified for the Champions League. They had some brilliant characters in that team – [Alan] Stubbs, [Lee] Carsley, [Thomas] Gravesen, [Alessandro] Pistone and many others – and the boss had put all that faith in me. David Moyes, from day one, wanted me to lead that team every single day. He wanted me to set a level of professionalism and a standard the rest would follow. And he would never let me fall beneath those standards. He challenged me every day, threatened me every day. There would be days when I might think ‘I feel a bit tired today’ but the minute he came on the training field I knew he wanted me to be at the front of the running, to be the most intense, to lead the others. I was replacing a great guy in David Weir, and he was brilliant, but it did take the others longer to accept me. The fans too, maybe. I had nailed my flag to the mast. Everyone knew I was a United fan. Liverpool’s supporters used to sing: ‘Your captain’s a Manc’. Gary’s relationship with Liverpool didn’t help either. I really don’t think I was properly accepted until I made that tackle on Ronaldo.”

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. Tommy says:

    That was a tackle and a half philipe, shows his professionalism tho agaimnst the team hes always supported putting in a good shift!

  2. TopRed123 says:

    In England you earn the respect of the fans by making a dangerous tackle, everywhere else in the footballing world you do it by putting in great performances that wins your team games.

  3. kevk24 says:

    @TopRed123, tackling is part of football. Dangerous ones arent right though

  4. UnitedFaithful says:

    Much has been made out about Moyes bringing in his own backroom staff and some even attributed our bad form to it which I certainly do not agree with although I wanted Fergie’s backroom staff just to stay for a smooth transition much alike Fergie and Gill helping DM and Woody to take the pressure off them.But I was certainly ecstatic with United appointing a Local lad to our coaching setup,giving Giggs a coaching role and now Butty and Scholesey are coaching the lads at U-19.Makes United such a homely place to be for the new players.

  5. Tommy says:

    @top red

    Fans want to see players showing they care and bad tackle when your behind is showing your pissed off in a way. Against city we were 4 1 down and no one was making a tackle, I was disgusted I would have prefered someone making a 2 footed lunge and take a red but no their was nothing, It looked like no one cared to be honest,

  6. UnitedFaithful says:

    Now if United can find a role for his brother,nothing better than the fledglings teaching young players about what does it take to be a player at this club.

  7. Tommy says:


    Gary gets paid a reported 7 million a year to work for Sky tv, I think hes their for the long haul and is unlikely to be coming back to United as a coach, he loves that sky sofa too much hahba

  8. UnitedFaithful says:


    Didn’t know about the Money bloody hell.I don’t have sky in my country but a lot of reds who I trust say that he is a good pundit and his analysis are always spot on(except for De Gea :-D ).Would have loved to see him pass on his expertise to the lads.Well one can dream :P

  9. wayne barker says:

    Personally think this non tackling is a load of bollocks well challenged tackles are a skill of their own.There’s nothing wrong with a well timed slide tackle yet this seems to becoming more and more a bookable or sending off offence,same with a decent shoulder charge every time always seems to be called a foul. Players going down all the time looking for free kicks instead of battling for the ball is the biggest joke in football.

  10. Tommy says:


    Hes an ambassador at United still so hes still involved in the club but he is the best pundit on television, even liverpool fans who hated him as a player admit hes quality, he was always a good talker and travveling around the country and europe for champions league is the ideal hob for him, He does coaching for England during the international break

  11. Tommy says:


    Its worse for goalkeepers, if you breathe on them they go down and get a freekick

  12. wayne barker says:

    Tommy yes mate trying to turn a contact sport into a non contact sport.Same as Hockey powers to be want to get fighting out of the game but the fans love it just like a hard game of football were players get stuck in adds passion and emotion to the game.

  13. Jesper Olsen says:

    The first thing I thought when I watched that tackle was……………………………god I miss Ronaldo

  14. Tommy says:

    15/20 years ago that Phil tackle wouldnt have even been a free kick, the games gone soft!

  15. Jesper Olsen says:

    @ Tommy Defending is an art and you are totally right it has gone soft……the argument was raised that its gone that way to protect the great players, Ronaldo, messi. Best, Maradonna and Pele done allright back then and made a name for themselves with all the tough tackles…..I got a huge buzz out of Vida’s tackle on Walker on Sunday…….Anyone that hasn’t seen it it’s worth a google!!!

  16. wayne barker says:

    I was actually thinking in today’s game there’s a good chance Phil could’ve easily seen Red that’s how ridiculous it’s got

  17. UnitedFaithful says:


    Yeah,would love to see him in a coaching role.But I think when it comes to united he tries too hard to show that he is not biased towards the club.For example the stick that he gave De Gea for last season for conceding against Spurs at the last minute I think was hugely unfair.And next week when hart had a howler he didn’t pick up on it.

  18. Mav says:

    I still dont think he is a good coach but oh well.

    Anyone has insight into what has to be totally baseless rumours that Moyes is not a fan of Rafael? He cannot seriously prefer smalling there, can he?

  19. UnitedFaithful says:

    Where is everyone?

    Midfield is a dilemma in this one.It’ll be interesting to see whether Moyes pairs Clevs or Giggs with Fellaini.Rafael and RVP been training all week,so it’s time they should be brought back.As fans we cannot stress enough the importance of winning tonight,hope Moyes feels the same way.

    United United United

  20. zibbie says:

    He has been hurt.

    Game say!

  21. UnitedFaithful says:

    Had we started this season the same way we did the last one,we would have been pretty confident of a win and even a comprehensive one,great run of form or not we should still beat everton any day of the week at home.So no nerves from me,Go all guns blazing and play the United way.

  22. Clement Filand says:

    Mirror report RVP out for tonight…?? Any truth to that…my understanding was that he has been training and is fit?

  23. dannysoya LOVES USAIN BOLT says:

    The midfield is the primary reason why I am not as confident as I would otherwise be when we play at home. Jones is suspended, Carrick is injured which means that no matter the combination we put out there today, that midfield will be under HEAVY bombardment today, We might have to drop the CAM into midfield as an extra man just to negate the potentially fatal consequences of a two man united midfield with neither Carrick nor Jones.

    Also hoping we can see Rafael and Van Persie tonight. It’s been a while. Not too confident but I am still hoping we can pull out the win tonight.


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