Former Everton and Man United midfielder Phil Neville has officially announced his retirement from playing, according to Sky
The 36-year-old had previously announced he would leave Everton at the end of last season in an effort to seek first team opportunities elsewhere, but has now decided that the time is right to hang up his boots and embark on a career in coaching.
He has widely been tipped to follow David Moyes to Old Trafford, where Neville and his older brother Gary spent several successful seasons. Neville won six Premier League titles and a Champions League medal during his 10-year-stay at United, before joining Everton in 2005.
He made 505 Premier League appearances in total, but has decided that to be the magic number.
He said: “I was speaking to Robbie Fowler about this the other week and he hasn’t officially retired. Three weeks ago, everyone in the world seemed to be retiring. I thought ‘I’m not jumping on this bandwagon’. I just wanted it to be a smooth, quiet turnover. I didn’t want that.
“When I made a statement that I was leaving Everton, everywhere I went I seemed to be getting ‘oh you’ve been brilliant’. I didn’t like it. I didn’t want to be seen as an attention-seeker. In my heart, I knew that I wouldn’t be playing again – at any level. I just wanted to drift away. The biggest thing I will miss is July 4 when Everton are due back for pre-season training. I loved that day. I lived for it, getting back with the lads.
“My wife, she knows what I’m like. She’s saying ‘for God’s sake, don’t have any more time off!”
Neville is currently going through the process of obtaining his UEFA A license, and does so with some old advice from Sir Alex Ferguson still in his mind.
He continued: “He gave us a great lesson when we were doing my B licence, with Roy Keane, Gary, Nicky Butt and Ryan Giggs. When you are a footballer at Manchester United, you are probably looking for a bit of a short-cut or can we get someone in to do the sessions for us, sign it off, and he gave us not a rollicking, but said ‘no fast track to coaching or management’.
“’But we’ve got to go to Lilleshall for two weeks in the summer’. He said: ‘Get it done’.
“’Can you phone the FA and ask if we can leave a couple of days early?’ ‘No, I want you to stay longer’.
“It was the biggest jolt that we had. We were thinking, we are Manchester United. We know everything. He said: ‘Actually you don’t’. There’s no short cut to being a manager or coach. He sowed the seed early on in our coaching career.”
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