Sunday 09 June 2013

Neville brings down curtain on playing career

Former Everton and Man United midfielder announces retirement from football

The former Everton and Manchester United midfielder Phil Neville has announced his retirement as a professional footballer.

"Playing has gone – at the end of the season, in my heart I knew I wasn’t playing football again "
Phil Neville

The 36-year-old, who became the seventh player to make 500 Barclays Premier League appearances when he lined up against Wigan Athletic for Everton on Boxing Day last year, made the announcement to the press in Israel, where he is working as a coach with the England Under-21 squad.

“Playing has gone,” said Neville, who left Everton last month after an eight-year spell at Goodison Park. “[When I made that decision – to retire] I felt quite excited. It was about three weeks ago and everyone in the world seemed to be retiring and I thought I am not just going to jump on that bandwagon.

“It just wanted there to be a smooth quiet turnover. I learnt a lot when I made a statement saying I was leaving Everton. Everywhere I went I seemed to be getting a little bit more ‘yeah, you’ve been brilliant’ and I didn’t like it, I didn’t enjoy it. It was as if I was an attention seeker and I didn’t want that to happen.

'Drift away'

“That’s why, at the end of the season, in my heart I knew I wasn’t playing football again, at any level. I just wanted to drift away and because I was well planned I just wanted to drift into something else and the decision be natural for everyone to see.”

Neville, who recently completed his FA coaching A-Licence, is now contemplating whether to take up offers of a career in the media or whether to continue with his fledgling coaching career.

“If you’d have asked me two months ago I’d have said a year in the media would be nice for me,” he said. “Then you think to yourself it might work for some people but I’m not so sure it’ll work for me. I do enjoy the media side, but I want to work, coach and get more hours on the grass.

“I want to develop that side of it. I have the path to go into the media and the path to go into coaching and management and I’ve got offers from both. At the end of this tournament I would sit down and if I go in the media route it’d be tied in with something else in terms of coaching, until an opportunity comes around.”

Glittering career

Neville made 242 Barclays Premier League appearances and scored four goals for Everton after joining from Manchester United in the summer of 2005, where he played 263 times in the English top flight.

The former England international, who won 59 caps, made his Barclays Premier League debut for Man United against Aston Villa at the start of the 1994/95 season and during his time at Old Trafford won six Barclays Premier League titles, three FA Cups, one UEFA Champions League and one FIFA Club World Cup.

Neville highlights

Barclays Premier League career at Man Utd (1995-2005)
Played 263; Goals 5; Yellow cards 42; Red cards 0; Wins 175.

At Everton (2005-2013)
Played
242; Goals 4; Yellow cards 41; Red cards 3; Wins 105.

For full career profile click on the link on the right of this page

Barclays Premier League debut: Man City 0-3  Man Utd, 11 February 1995
100th league match:
Middlesbrough 0-1 Middlesbrough, 9 May 1999
200th: Manchester United 2-1 Southampton, 2 November 2002
300th: Everton 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur, 26 August 2006
400th: Aston Villa 3-3 Everton, 12 April 2009
500th: Everton 2-1 Wigan Athletic, 26 December 2012

  • Phil Neville made his debut for Manchester United in the 1994/95 season

  • During his time at Old Trafford he won six Barclays Premier League titles

  • He scored on his 200th Barclays Premier League match against Southampton

  • Neville celebrates the UEFA Champions League victory in 1999 with brother Gary

  • Neville made his 300th league appearance in the colours of Everton

  • His 400th league match came in April 2009 against Aston Villa

  • Neville joined the elite '500 club' against Wigan Athletic at Goodison Park

Phil Neville in Topps Premier League Stickers 1996-2013 copy

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Key Points

  • Phil Neville announces the end of his playing days
  • Midfielder left Everton at the end of last season
  • 36-year-old mulling over a future in media or coaching