Gary Alexander Neville lived every young football fans dream when he grew up to play for Manchester United, the club he had supported from the terraces as a boy.
Right-back Neville was a member of the fabled Class of ’92 that would go onto to dominate English Football for over a decade. Under the tutelage of the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson, Neville would win an astonishing eight Premier League titles, three FA Cups and two Champions League, as well as amassing 85 caps for England.
Since his retirement in 2011, The Neviller has gone on to become one of the nations most respected Premier League pundits, here are some of the best quotes about the Bury native.
“Gary was the best English right-back of his generation. He is an example to any young professional; hard-working, loyal and intelligent. As a United fan born and bred, his fantastic career at Old Trafford has cemented his place in the affection of the club’s supporters everywhere.” Sir Alex Ferguson.
“Young players nowadays should look back at the way that he played the game, not just in terms of his defending but the way he overlapped and attacked.” Rio Ferdinand.
“He was England’s No 1 for so many years and he was so consistent. His biggest quality was his positional play, he was always in the right position.” Ryan Giggs.
“He had a wonderful hunger and desire to succeed, which kept him where he was in the game… a Manchester United icon.” Stuart Pearce.
“He didn’t mind getting forward but he enjoyed defending and was very good at it. He was also good at getting balls into the box and he liked to attack, but because of his fitness and agility, he could get up and down the line. He was a very good defender and an organiser.” Alan Shearer.
“Manchester United was a huge education for me. (Being at United) taught me to train hard all the time. To eat properly, sleep good, recovery sessions, everything. You have to dedicate yourself 100 per cent. There were guys who always arrived for training one hour early. Paul Scholes and Gary Neville were incredible examples. Neville was the most professional player I saw. This is why these guys played in the top level for 10 years” Cristiano Ronaldo.
“A huge career and fantastic achievements, that is what he has done. I respect a lot what he has done because he was certainly not one of the most talented players in the league but what he has achieved is consistency. His record is down to intelligence and motivation – he is an example to players who are maybe less gifted than the Giggs’ and the Beckhams but still make a fantastic career because they are intelligent and highly motivated. They deserve a great credit. (Neville was the) best English right back, certainly – if you look at his record, he has won absolutely everything and the number of games he has played, he is without a doubt the best.” Arsene Wenger.
“He was the same as Van der Sar, he was always talking on the pitch. I will always remember the way he trained, it was unbelievable – a full professional. I can remember him telling me that he could see young players coming through and that he had to train every day like he was 20 because they were catching up to him. He was right! He was a great professional and overall a great person. His statistics speak for themselves, he was great.” Dimitar Berbatov.
“I was fortunate to play with some great right-backs [ . . . ] you see players today as wing-backs, getting forward, getting round the back and whipping in crosses and people say this is the new game, but he was doing it 10 to 15 years ago. [ . . . ] He was confident, he was a really quiet lad but he got stuck in and he was a team player. He was a guy that you would never see jogging back – he was up and down that line. He was an honest player.” Paul Gascoigne.
“We (Manchester United) took Gary simply because he was determined, and he was a centre-back at that time. But he had something in him and he made himself a footballer. He worked, he practised, he had an incredible determination that made him what he is today.” Sir Alex Ferguson.