Gary Neville believes “making your teammates wait” is “the most disrespectful thing you can do” after Nemanja Matic revealed Paul Pogba and Jadon Sancho were “always late for training”.
Matic – who made 189 appearances for United in five seasons – made the revelation earlier this week, as the media storm of discontent continues to swirl around Erik ten Hag’s side, claiming Sancho and Pogba were the biggest contributors in a season in which the players racked up fines of £75,000 for turning up late for training.
And Roy Keane insists “a decent dressing room wouldn’t tolerate” it.
He said on the Stick To Football podcast: “This idea with lads being constantly late for training [at Manchester United] shouldn’t happen. A player can be late for training, it can happen – it can be stuck in traffic, or your car breaks down – but if that’s a regular occurrence, then that’s not good. A decent dressing room wouldn’t tolerate players being late – if it was the norm then a group would get hold of him.”
Keane then recalled a time he got “a bollocking” from Sir Alex Ferguson for being late for training, claiming the “guilt kicked in” when he played his next game.
Keane added: “When I first signed for Manchester United, I was still living at my house in Nottingham. I’d been at United a few months, and I went up to watch a reserve game, and went for one or two drinks after. My plan was to come back that night, but obviously everything is subject to change.
“I woke up in Nottingham that morning about 9:30 and got to training around 12, and obviously [Sir Alex] Ferguson went mad. I don’t think I got fined for that – Ferguson gave me a bollocking as he does, but he played me in the next game, and I scored – that bit of guilt kicked in.”
Gary Neville said he was late for training just once, believing “making your teammates wait” is “the most disrespectful thing you can do”.
He said: “I remember being late once when I was coming into Carrington, once in 20 years. I got stuck in horrendous traffic; I was never late. I was ringing up, I was frantic, I was absolutely devastated.
“Just the standards that I set, just if anyone else was late I’d criticise people, because that is the most disrespectful thing you can do, making your teammates wait. Working hard goes without saying, but if everyone is waiting for you, you can’t be that person in life.”
Jamie Carragher reckons what Paul Pogba and Jadon Sancho have achieved in their careers exemplifies the problem with tardiness.
“Have those players [Paul Pogba and Jadon Sancho, who racked up £75,000 for late fines during the covid season] fulfilled really what they should have done on a football pitch?” Carragher said. “These little things in terms of being on time for training, being a good trainer, having that mentality – thinking about football constantly 24/7 – it means you get the best out of yourself. Those two players that we’re talking about have not got the best out of themselves as footballers.
“The knock-on effects of thinking, ‘I’ll just come in 10 minutes late, it’s not the end of the world’, it then goes into your football, it goes into your training. Have you got enough time between when you come in, to when you go to training, to whether you need to see the physio. Have you had a massage? Have you been in the gym? These are just these small things that happen every day that then have a knock-on effect season after season.
“I know people will say Paul Pogba won the World Cup, but Pogba’s talent means he should be classed in probably the top 10 players year in, year out, maybe going for the Ballon d’Or. He’s going to be a player remembered for not basically fulfilling his potential.”