Neville - Time was right

Gary Neville has shed light on his decision to finish his playing career, stating that it "didn't feel right" to carry on until the end of the season.

The now former Manchester United captain decided to call time after 19 years in the senior squad on Wednesday, having won eight Premier League titles, two Champions Leaguetrophies and three FA Cups.

The 35-year-old made just three league appearances this season, his last coming against West Bromwich Albion on New Year's Day, where he was lucky to escape a sending-off for a foul on midfielder Graham Dorrans that was not given.

Neville felt that time had caught up with him in top-level football, and that holding out until the end of the season would be pointless for the former England international's career.

"It wasn't just yesterday obviously, something like that doesn't come as immediate as that," he told MUTV.

"It's been a combination of events over the last couple of months and I've sort of known for the last few weeks.

"I've been speaking to the manager and obviously he said that you can't just go and do something like that so quickly.

"So I went away for a week and still came to the same conclusion that it was the right thing to do.

"I just felt that my time was up, so when your time's up, your time's up.

"Sometimes you just go off gut instinct, that's the type of person I am I suppose."

Neville admitted that he will carry on working with the club in some capacity to honour the rest of his contract, but it is unclear as to whether he will remain on the books at Old Trafford come the summer.

"You just feel it's right. I've been speaking with the manager and I'll continue to the end of the season, but not in the capacity that I've been doing for the last 19 years," he added.

"I may be working with some of the younger players, but that'll be until the end of the season.

"I am going to stay at the club until the end of the season and do some

coaching because I have got my coaching badge to complete," he said.

"But at this moment in time my mindset isn't to go into coaching or management full-time.

"I have been working for a football club every day for 20 years. I definitely want to try and continue my relationship with this club, even if it is just as a fan.

"But I want to have 12 months to gather my thoughts. I don't want to rush into

another relationship quickly.

"I want to ease off a little bit and just relax. I need to chill out."

Neville also conceded that it was on New Year's Day at the Hawthorns that he felt it was time to hang up his boots, due to being unable to keep up with the frenetic pace at the highest level.

"After that game on New Year's Day I felt I had reached the end," he said.

"In fact, it wasn't after that game, it was during. I had been thinking about it for a month or so before that.

"You don't just give up after one bad game. I had enough of them over the last

20 years to know that can happen.

"But the way I felt at the start of the season, when I started picking up injuries, there is only so many times you can come back.

"Your mentality is such at this club that you are always willing to go again.

"But sometimes you get a feeling in your mind that you just can't go again and

that time had come for me.

"In the previous two seasons I had played 25-30 games and there was always a period where I felt I was contributing.

"I just felt that it was the right time. I played my last game against West Bromwich and came to the conclusion pretty quickly after that that it didn't feel right.

"Time was up and I didn't want to delay four months in my mind, it just wouldn't have been right for me.

"I think that the manager and the club deserve after everything they've done for me to know that as well. So they accepted and supported the decision."

Source: Sky Sports
Date Published: 4 February 2011

Latest Forum Comments

Have your say on Neville - Time was right in the United Online forum

I wouldn't have predicted that it would happen mid-way through a season, but I don't think anyone is surprised that the end has come.

- John

hi there a bit of a shock hearing this did other people know it was going to happen soon? dave

- seabourndt

Definitely! He'd be class on MOTD, a refreshing change and a nice balance to the Scouse/City leanings of Hansen, Lawrenson, Dixon...

- Jonesy

What I love about Gaz is that...he's one of us! He basically embodied a passionate United supporter who was representative of us supporters on the pitch! Loved his passion, he never left behind anything when he was on the pitc..Have such great memories of him... Him headbutting McManaman vs City in the FA Cup was one I won't forget! Had one hell of a cross on him (with either foot!) His combination with Beckham down that right flank for all those years in particular was enjoyable to watch.. Course his celebration at the Liverpool fans everyone's talked about.. Thanks for absolutely everything, he's had one hell of a career!

- Zain

I've also got the pleasure of seeing him score, and I was in the Stretfod End to see it. 1-0 against Leicester in 2004. So many great scenes, especially that great celebration against Liverpool. Only doing what every United fan were doing, but because he was on the pitch, he had to take a bit of hassle for it.

- John

If im feeling this gutteda bout Neville retiring (and probally rightly) i hate to think how im going to feel when Giggs or Scholes hang up their boots (especailly as we havnt replaced either)

- birchy

One of them was at home against Basel, in front of the Strettie, I was there for that. Fantastic atmosphere and 20 mins of "Gary Neville is a Red" followed, you could see how much he was loving it.

- Jonesy

Great player. All the best in the future G. Neville.

- Munsterman

United legend. Glad he has called it a day - I don't mean that in a negative way. I mean it is now the right time to let young Rafael take over at right-back for the next 10 years (hopefully). Many expect him to take over Andy Gray's role at Sky. It would be hilarious considering how bias he is towards us and against the scousers.

- Shaun

Bound to happen at season's end, can only think same as you that he's off to Sky. Sad to see him finally go but the time feels right eh? Scouse baiter, shop steward, sporter of awful moustaches but above all RED to the core. Good luck Gary you are truly one of us. [url:hnbh2jya][/url:hnbh2jya]

- Jonesy