Phil Neville: Ex-Everton captain confirms retirement

 

Former Manchester United, Everton and England defender Phil Neville has ended his 18-year playing career.

Neville, 36, announced in April that he would leave Everton this summer and now hopes to coach and work in the media following 505 top-flight appearances.

"In my heart, I knew that I wouldn't be playing again - at any level. I just wanted to drift away," he said.

Neville has also revealed he may be working as a BBC pundit at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

He has been working as a coach with England at their unsuccessful European Under-21 Championship campaign in Israel.

"If you had asked me two months ago, I thought I'd do a year with BBC or in the media," he said.

Phil Neville's honours

Phil Neville

FA Youth Cup: 1995

Premier League: 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003

FA Cup: 1996, 1999, 2004

Community Shield: 1996, 1997, 2003

Champions League: 1999

Intercontinental Cup: 1999

"It might work for some people but not me.

"I will be going to the World Cup next year with the BBC - I won't be going as a player - I do enjoy the media side but I want to work, I want to coach, I want to get more hours on the grass.

"I have got two paths - one to go into the media, the other to go into coaching and management. I have got offers from both. I will sit down at the end of the tournament."

Neville, who has earned 59 England caps during his career, made his Premier League debut in 1995 for United in a 3-0 win over Manchester City and went on to feature in 19 seasons in the top flight.

The former United full-back and midfielder won six Premier League titles, three FA Cups and one Champions League crown at Old Trafford before joining Everton in 2005 for a fee of £3.5m.

Neville went on to captain the Blues under David Moyes. He ended his eight-year spell on Merseyside at the end of this season and said he was not planning to retire.

But Neville admitted he knew his time was up before the end of the campaign but did not want to announce his retirement with former manager Sir Alex Ferguson and ex-United midfielders David Beckham and Paul Scholes revealing their intentions to quit football in May.

"Three weeks ago, everyone in the world seemed to be retiring. I thought 'I'm not jumping on this bandwagon'," he said.

"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.

"The biggest thing I will miss is 4 July when Everton are due back for pre-season training. I loved that day. I lived for it, getting back with the lads."

Neville has been linked with managerial positions this summer including Everton  and Brighton  and also a coaching role at United. 

Did you know?

Phil Neville was also a promising cricketer and in 1992, aged just 15, played for Lancashire's second XI against a Middlesex side including future England Test players Aftab Habib and Richard Johnson.

He is currently in the process of finishing his Uefa A licence and revealed a lesson from Ferguson earlier in his career has given him a great insight into coaching.

"He gave us a great lesson when we were doing my B licence, with Roy Keane, Gary Neville, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs," he said.

"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'.

"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."