Phil Neville scored one of the crucial penalties in our defeat to Everton in the FA Cup semi-final, proving himself as a model professional.

Sir Alex Ferguson has today praised his former player, acknowledging the difficulties he may have faaced when stepping up to strike the ball.

“Phil is one of the special people in the game so I hope he is picking up that cup,” said Ferguson. “Everyone knows his connection to Manchester United. He was here so long as a kid. I know he was captaining Everton in a semi-final but don’t tell me there was not one small part in him that was saying, ‘Christ I am going to knock Manchester United out of the cup here’. It goes to show you the integrity of the man. He is a fantastic person and no-one in the game deserves it more than he does.”