Towards the end of last season, with no contract extension agreed upon, Gary Neville had to consider that his Manchester United career was coming to an end.

At the time, he played down the idea of not signing a new contract, claiming the summer was the time to do that. However, fellow United veterans, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, had agreed their extensions during the season.

“I turned round during training one morning and said ‘I have three games to go at Manchester United’,” said Neville. “I had not spoken to the club and I genuinely felt it could be the last three weeks. The club didn’t owe me anything and I was more than happy. I was enjoying myself. In some ways, my best football came in a period I thought I was just going to enjoy.”