Former United and England great Gary Neville gives valuable and visible gravitas to Sky
‘I think it will certainly help David Moyes to get his hands on a Fabregas-type character because it will give everybody a lift’
“I mean Sir Alex Ferguson, when I think about the players Manchester United have missed out on over the years; Arjen Robben, Alan Shearer, (Zinedine) Zidane, there’s more. United didn’t always have their own way in the transfer market.
“There probably are more that we didn’t even know about. So, no, I wouldn’t say it is a reflection (on Moyes), that’s maybe the conclusion that people who want to get to that conclusion will get to, but I would point to the fact that United have not always got the player they wanted to get.”
Neville played over 600 times for United and knows a thing or two about the club’s penchant for longevity. He therefore describes suggestions that Moyes might see the exit before the Christmas lights go up as “nonsense”.
“Oh, he definitely will get time and patience, I’d be amazed if he didn’t. I’d be stunned. It would be a departure completely. Forget Sir Alex Ferguson, you can go back to Ron Atkinson, you can go back to the managers before, they’ve all been given time.
“A good few years, historically Manchester United have given their managers time, so it would be a complete departure to start reacting after six months or three results. Well, that’s not the way in which the club has ever worked.”
All this talk of suitable replacements brings up the inevitable question of the void Neville left behind him on the right-side of United’s defence. Rafael da Silva has progressed but, as yet, he brings nothing like the authority, or delivery, of his predecessor.
He may do, but Moyes once said Ireland’s Séamus Coleman could make the grade at a top four club and, as the question is ventured, Neville grins, before gently and tactfully deflating any misplaced Irish optimism.
“I was damn impressed with him for Ireland against England. He had a fantastic game that night at Wembley, unfortunately. I think he’s a good kid, I speak to my brother a lot obviously and he covered Phil for two or three years at Everton, sat in front of him, so I mean Phil’s got a lot of time for him.
“He’s an honest kid, an attacking full-back, similar to Baines on the other side in that they both like to run forward. Probably at this moment he’s obviously behind Leighton Baines in terms of quality of delivery in the last third, but yeah, I think he does offer an opportunity,” he adds before citing Everton’s John Stones as a danger to the Irishman.