Gary Neville has opened up about his final season with Manchester United, revealing that he told Alex Ferguson he was retiring after being outplayed by 'average' players.
Neville brought his career to a close in February 2011 after just three league appearances that season, and in an insightful interview with Premier League TV, the Man United defender explains why he decided to hang up his boots.
“I started playing against Stoke and West Brom and when you’ve got average players causing you a problem you know you’re in trouble," Neville said.
“I played three games that season and nearly cost us, in fact I did cost us against Everton away. I should have been sent off twice. And that’s when I said to Alex Ferguson, ‘I’m going to cost you here it’s not going to work, I just don’t feel right at all’.
“I’d retired there [after being taken off at half-time against West Brom] – even though I played on for two months and played another couple of games, in my mind I’d gone.
“I came into the club, pretended I was injured to be around and speak to the lads.
“I retired on January 2 but it wasn’t announced until early February. I was embarrassed every day when I was in thinking this highly elite football club has a guy going in every day who’s a passenger.”