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PNev: I’m like a kid at Christmas!

Phil Neville has joined the coaching staff at Manchester United and couldn’t be happier about it.

He takes part in the first team training activities and has been a prominent figure on the bench during the pre-season, seen giving instructions to every substitute before they come on the field.

“The couple of days before pre-season, when I knew I was coming back, was probably one of the proudest times of my career,” Neville said. “The first day back at the training ground was really special, going back to a place I knew and still seeing the same faces and feeling the same love. I was on cloud nine. I still am. I’m loving it. It’s really challenging. To finish my playing career and automatically go into a job like this has been perfect. I have gone from someone who goes to bed at 9-9.30pm to someone who, at 12 midnight or one in the morning, is still planning, preparing coaching. When your head hits the pillow it is still buzzing. The change from my quite boring type of methodical planning I would do as a player is now that you eat when you get two minutes, you speak to people when you have got five minutes and you don’t normally have five minutes. People say, ‘What are you doing all day?’ but you are constantly trying to plan, prepare the players, and you are worried about the other staff and making sure everything is all right. Yes, that is the manager’s job but as a coach, and his coach, it is my job to make sure he knows every bit of the information as well as he possibly can. I can’t wait for the first real game. I am like a kid at Christmas.”

After retiring from playing, Phil was interviewed for the Everton job and had a plan of where he wanted his career to go. But then Moyes was appointed Manchester United manager and things changed.

“I was interviewed for the Everton job and spoke to Roberto Martinez about going back there as a coach as well,” he revealed. “I was really impressed. I had also agreed a contract with the BBC and I thought maybe I would take 12 months out, go to the World Cup, learn, do my badges. But in the back of my mind there was always this little thing that I wanted to come back to United. The turning point was when the gaffer got the job here. He had been promising me for three years that he would have me on the staff wherever he was. So it seemed like this was fate in a way. He got the United job and I came back home. I was delighted when he got the job. I had worked so close to him and I knew more than anyone what it was like to be involved at this club. I knew he would be blown away by the experience of being the United manager. He was born for this job. I always felt that when I started coaching I would be worried and nervous but from the minute I walked in to the training ground it just felt right. We have experienced coaches here and then we have me and Ryan, who are the younger ones. We are the ones who will continue the United legacy. A large remit of the manager’s job is to continue to produce young players. To do that he needs people round him who have been through the system and understand it. For 12 months that will be our role. The coaching part we will pick up along the way. There will be times when we can be the link between the players and the manager as well. I have just finished playing and you might say, either after a long flight or after this situation or that, players probably want to stay in bed an hour longer. And it is information like that which the boss is pulling from us at the moment. To be honest, had I finished my career here and gone straight into coaching it would have been a bit difficult. But I have been away for eight years so they see me differently. They now see me as a coach. Also, when you have the staff kit on — it doesn’t give you extra power but it gives you that extra bit of respect. It is inbred in this culture here.”

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. NBI Red Moyesy says:

    @ Teej, you say “n Sir Alex got so successful was because he could tell when players were past their sell by date.Ando is over the hill,young cant handle the pressure of playing for the biggest club in the world,welbeck cant score to save his life yet we are all willing to de3pend onhi for the upcoming season.”

    I don’t understand where you are coming from in quite a few of your comments. Firstly,that’s not why SAF was successful. He knew how to get the best out of players and build a winning mentality. Getting the best out of someone starts with seeing the best in them. He managed to make plays who looked mediocre at other Clubs shine at United. He has won titles with a patched up MF and defence and when players eg like our wingers last season were not firing. Also SAF did not move on Welbeck, Young and Ando on so obviously he did not think they were past their sell by date.

    When SAF sold players it was due to form and attitude. He also looked at the larger picture in keeping players like Giggs around.

    Young is a useful squad player, he will be content to play that role, he will probably not start every game.
    Ando is not past his best, he hasn’t reached it. But he is also a useful squad player content to play that role who can sometimes come on and do a job.

    If you can’t see Welbeck’s talent then you probably don’t enjoy football. He had a year where he was scoring for fun and a year where he was not even played as a striker and scored twice. In pre-season he has scored once in 4 games, had a couple of shots saved and had one off the post. His build up play has been fantastic and he is an exciting player to watch. He is not past his sell by date, to say that is completely naive. He needs composure in front of goal but so do lots of players and he can develop that.

    Also the comment people criticise you because you are from India is a cheap shot and you know it. Quite silly actually. You do come across as not really understanding very much about football and that the team SAF left is the one that won the EPL and is packed with young and improving players plus 2 new squad members who have shone in pre-season so need to panic.

    In terms of MF options, it is not easy to get top players particularly from top clubs. So why don’t you relax and see what happens at the end of the transfer window.

  2. Teej says:

    WTF man,im in no way,shape or form leaving.Like i said im a united through and through and no amount of rash unprovoked sentiment will change my decision.We have millions and millions of fans yet you think only a fair few are entitled opinions on the proceedings of the team in a blog.Common time to get real,give everyone a chance to share their misgivings and enjoy the good that comes with supproting United as well.Fucking tired of having to justify my allegency to the club,i know i dont have to but all i can tell you is i will not stop supporting United just because you think i should.

  3. Teej says:

    fair enough mate,i agree with most of what you say coz its civil and quite rational.With regard to me not understanding the intricacies of footbal,then thats not true.I know my football and my criticism stems from the high standards set by past United teams which make some of the current players look like there hearts are not up for it.All good,finally a bright spark that can put things straight without insults.Must admit that’s impressive.Cheers.

  4. LexxytheRed says:

    I don’t want people pointing swords and arrows at me cuz that’s what ROM has turned to but I saw someone saw Welbeck had a season he was scoring for fun.
    Waoh, I did chuckle at that, and if you think Welbeck will be a 20 goal a season striker then you are deluded.
    Listen, I am not saying Moyes is shit but even Steve Wonder and Ray Charles could see that we will be in trouble without MF signings,
    Like I always, this is my humble opinion and I won’t want sand spilled in my direction cuz I get pissed off easily and I love ROM.


  5. Ash says:


    I see your point but dont judge our team by preseason matches. You know we are playing some exciting matches. I wanted to see how we play under moyes and I have to say we are playing some attacking football so thats a good trhing. Pre seasons games are never about winning or losing , its about getting match fitness and getting ready for the season. Look I would have been more worried if we have had played some boring football. Moyes has trusted youngsters and is willing to let them play.I know winning is important but I wont say that ios too important in pre season games.

  6. samuel - united WE stand says:

    “I saw someone saw welbeck” I don’t think anyone is pointing swords at you, you can barely string a sentence together.

  7. LexxytheRed says:

    That was merely a typing error , even you can see that but well you chose to abuse and insult as usual

  8. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Not many can or will ever see the bigger picture regarding welbeck and changing their minds isn’t for me to do, each dog and his bone and all. For me, danny welbeck is one of the best younger players to come out of the academy. Possesses all technical skills possible, he plays with imagination and invention but his composure is what deserts him and it’s something that needs continious hardwork from him and hopefully he gets rewarded. His all round ability as a forward is superb, he can match anyone in europe based on his hold up play, linking up, off the ball running. He can pass and move, he is clever and possesses a lot of guile and agility. He has abundance of individual skill and is pretty good aerially. His all round game as a pure footballer is intact, a knowledgeable observer of the game will know, some are focused on stats but never observing. Welbeck needs perseverance to continue developing his game, only a clown would say he’s finished. He will continue working on his game as his confidence needs building up in front of goal, he just needs to keep believing and with development, hopefuly rewards starts to bear fruit. Welbeck is and will hopefully continue to be a part of a new manchester united, he’s got the talent and only a few tweaks needed as the important thing is, he’s getting into the right positions but he must add calmness.

  9. NBI Red Moyesy says:

    @ LexxytheRed

    Welbeck had 11 goals in 2011/12 in 37 appearances of which 27 were as a substitute or for part of the game. Maybe not scoring for fun in the Ronnie sense but for a first season in EPL a pretty good strike rate.
    He also scored 3 FA cup goals and 2 league cup goals. His assists and build up play have also been significant and improved each year. He scored well for England that summer including a very cool back heel goal. In 2012/13 he had injuries and also played alot on the wings. Oh and he monstored RM and scored at their home turf.

    As for MF – if you look at any paper you will see United have bid for Fabregas. So I think Moyes is aware MF needs players, in fact he actually said so himself. But if we don’t get Fabregas or another top player that is not due to Moyes, it is a brutal market where top teams are struggling to get top players. So how you can blame him for not getting someone like Fabregas begs belief. Have you actually seen how hard it is to get top players? Who is getting them? So far only mercenary new rich French clubs.

  10. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Hardly an abuse, quit acting like peter-pan that’s eaten a bad curry and I don’t think you deserve the benefit of the doubt to be honest

  11. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Fabregas will be difficult to get but money speaks and if united keep pushing up bids then barca might blink. Ultimately, ball lies with fabregas and how badly he wants to move. He either wants to improve and be a potential regular starter for spain in his actual position whilst playing at oldtrafford or he can sit on the bench playing sudoku and buckaroo with pinto and alex song

  12. LexxytheRed says:

    @NBI red moyesy!
    Thanks, I hope Welbeck develops too, he came through the ranks so best of wishes.

    Typical of some on here, always the true fan, the perfect fan, the only true supporter.
    If that’s what gives you sleep at night then so be it, anything that massages ur ego.
    Am done here

  13. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Cesc and barca must be giving united encouragent contrary to the impression they are given to the media. Not sure why united would keep chasing the egg if it will smash into pieces. I’ll be honest, I would rather go into the season giving the younger players a chance and developing them as one season in the PL can do wonders and united will see the long term benefit than to spend on a downgrade in quality, that includes fellaini or whoever else.

  14. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Lexxy – hardly, no such thing as “perfect” and no fan can claim to be, i’m not influencing whatever you have to say, I would just skip it but I merely pointed out your words, not sure why you’re getting agitated over nothing.

  15. nairobired says:

    IMO the reason SAF asked fans to support moyes is because he knew moyes would need a lot of time and patience to even settle, let alone get things right. And even when he gets accustomed to united’s way of life, he still has to compete with other world class coaches and teams.
    Those saying it’s just pre season are setting themselves up for ridicule because moyes will take this current streak to the new season, then what will your excuse be? This is not just a pre season, for moyes, he is trying to win these games, because of the negative press and scrutiny he’s getting, but he still has to balance that with the pre season exercise. He is certainly not a dolphin in water like say pep, who took over bayern and already has the winning mentality and belief. it shows, as his team are wiping the floor with every team they meet. Moyes is more like a duck, where the experience is new and he has to adapt both technically and mentally. He’ll need time, probably more than a year, so those saying it’s just pre season are deluded, it’s going to get very bumpy, he has never won anything and you just don’t gain that mentality by moving to united but due to the experience and quality of the squad he will eventually achieve success. The issue here is when will that be and can he keep united competitive while he learns the ropes?
    I think his only target this year is top 4 and a decent showing in europe, anything better will show his true nature, I just hope we stop playing those long balls that I have seen being played in pre season.

  16. Dwaza1985 says:

    We are kidding ourselves if we think this current united squad can compete with City this year. I’d be even worried about Chelsea. This pre season has been awful, shambolic defending and poor attacking displays. Ashley young is a terrible footballer, how can he be rated more highly than nani, that is joke in itself!and Anderson has been given to many chances, we should be more on his back instead of Rooneys, the lads weight problems are on a different level. There have been a few positives, zaha and lingard look bright. I fear this season without the magic of ferguson making the group punch above its weight we will be badly exposed. These alleged transfers of stars are just hot air, thiago said himself united never even spoke to him. With fabregas, are we seriously thinking 30million will get him, dillusional!!! We are not going to spend jack this summer, and it will be a poor season with another shitty euro performance. Until we start spending real money, we are going to slide into mediocrity.

  17. football kits says:

    Very nice shirt

  18. Pal Ghai says:

    Samuel whiter than white.You’d be forgiven to think he was one of Fergie’s trusted lieutenants.Simpleton

  19. murt73 says:


    You say you know your football but say ando is past it and over the hill..But have you forgotten what he showed us last season before he got injured? Actually I can remember some fans panicking here wondering how we would manage without him.. Also I think he was possibly played twice in one week before he was fully fit which was madness as he is prone to injury. Costas may remember the circumstances better as I think he pointed it out back then.
    Also you say about Wellbeck we are all willing to depend on him for the upcoming season… How can you come out with a statment like that?? I mean we have RVP Hernandez And Roo is still on the books..Wellbeck may not even get a whole lot of playing time, but I can certainly see the logic in Moyes playing him in pre season as if he does bag a few it can only help his confidence so these games are ideal to help players improve on their weaknesses as it doesn’t matter in the bigger scheme of things.
    And of course you can criticise as much as you want, but other fans are just as entitled to defend the players you slate, like other fans here who say we are going to be miles behind Chel and city.. But don’t forget that WE ARE the current Champions winning by a margin of 11 points I think. and yes others may be outspending us but again its because THEY need to gain ground on US.. So why all the need for such pessimism I will never understand..Supporting your team should be enjoyable, especially with all the continued success we have become accustomed to.. I mean take a look at Real Madrid maybe about to splash another 80 mill on Bale and they haven’t won the Champions League in over ten seasons but continually outspend probably most clubs! So lets keep things in perspective heh…

  20. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Thanks paul ghai, the man with a name like a lonely bed bacteria from delhi.. I really am affected by your existence, I won’t get into a slinging match though, my only brief response.


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