Neville reveals ‘brutal’ Man Utd legend branded him ‘a risk’; names three ‘mice’ in the dressing room

Joe Williams
Man Utd legend Gary Neville
Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville

Man Utd legend Gary Neville has revealed how Peter Schmeichel branded him “a risk” at a Christmas party during his first season in the first team.

Neville was part of one of the most successful periods in the Red Devils’ history with the former right-back winning eight Premier League titles, three FA Cups, three League Cups and two Champions Leagues.

The former Man Utd defender often jokes that he wasn’t the most gifted player and he has now revealed that ex-Red Devils team-mate Schmeichel was “brutal” to him in the “early days in training”.

Neville said on Sky Bet’s Stick To Football podcast: “I was always vocal on the pitch, I’d give loads of information to my centre back and right winger, I’d never shut up on the pitch. But in terms of standing up to people, [Peter] Schmeichel was brutal to me in the early days in training.

“He told me one Christmas do, that he thought I was a risk. He said that Paul Parker was an amazing defender with a great back four, and that I was the first person to break into that back four and he saw me as a risk, thinking that I wouldn’t be good enough and would cause problems.

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Neville added: “This was in 1998, he told me, three years after I’d broke in. Roy [Keane] was like that, [Paul] Ince was like that, the boss [Sir Alex Ferguson] was like that, it was almost like an initiation. Eric Harrison said to me after 17 games in the first team, and I was picked for England, that you’re not a Manchester United player until you’ve played 100 matches, you need three seasons.”

Gary Neville: Three of my Man Utd team-mates were like ‘mice’

Neville explained how three players were particularly quiet during their early days as Man Utd players, he continued: “[Ryan] Giggs was so quiet, [Paul] Scholes, Butty [Nicky Butt], all of us – we were mice for the first four or five years in the dressing room.”

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The current Man Utd team are not doing too well under Erik ten Hag this season and former Arsenal and Chelsea defender William Gallas would be surprised to see the Dutchman at the club next season.

Gallas told Gambling Zone: “This is a tricky one. It could be between Mauricio Pochettino and Erik ten Hag – both of them have had disappointing seasons.

“Erik ten Hag has Manchester United in a higher position than Chelsea in the Premier League, but it’s his second season with the club and most people expected Manchester United to take a step forward this year. They haven’t done that. Manchester United have gone backwards. I think ten Hag will be very lucky to keep his job going into next season.”

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