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Gary Alexander Neville (born 18 February 1975) is an English football player. He is England's most cap right back and Manchester United's club captain. Neville started at and has played his entire career so far at Old Traffordmarker, making him to date a rare one club man. He made his international debut in 1995 and was first choice right back for club and country for more than ten years.

He is the brother of fellow Premier League footballer and Everton captain Phil Neville, who was also a Manchester United player (from 1993 until 2005). His sister Tracey Neville plays netball for England, his mother Jill is a receptionist for Bury and his father Neville Neville was once a cricketer for Lancashire.

Manchester United

The older of the Neville brothers joined Manchester United as an apprentice upon leaving school in 1991, and captained the youth side to FA Youth Cup glory in his first season. He made his senior debut for United in September 1992 against Torpedo Moscow in the UEFA Cup. Gary emerged as part of Alex Ferguson's phenomenal youth-oriented side of the 1990s (nicknamed Fergie's Fledglings, an updated take on the 1950s equivalent Busby Babes) that included his brother Phil, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes. In 1994, he became first-choice right back at the expense of Paul Parker and has remained so ever since. He formed a partnership with Beckham on the right wing, regularly contributing assists.

In the summer of 2004, Neville signed a four-year contract extension with United.

Following Roy Keane's departure in December 2005, Neville was appointed the new captain, becoming the first local-born player in United's history to do so. Since then he has remained popular with fans for his leadership skills and no-nonsense attitude.

In January 2006, his actions were the subject of some controversy after his celebration in front of the visiting Liverpool fans at Old Traffordmarker, when he was seen to run from the half-way line towards the opposing fans to celebrate the 90th minute injury-time winning headed goal by United defender Rio Ferdinand. His actions were criticized by Liverpool and fellow England defender Jamie Carragher, sections of the media and police who blamed him for disturbances between fans after the game. He was subsequently charged with improper conduct by The Football Association. Neville contested this, asking if it was preferable for players to act like "robots" and show no emotions. He was fined £5,000 and warned about his future conduct.

Thus far, Gary Neville has won eight Premier League titles, three FA Cups, two European Cup and one League Cup, the last of which was his first trophy as captain.

Neville recovered from an injury suffered against Bolton in March 2007 and in his first match back, a reserve game against Everton in January 2008, he scored a rare goal in the 21st minute of the game which helped Manchester United to a 2-2 draw.

On 9 April 2008, Neville made his long-awaited comeback against Roma in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg at Old Trafford as an 81st-minute substitute for Anderson. Neville was welcomed back to the pitch with a standing ovation, and was promptly given the captain's armband. It was Neville's 99th Champions League appearance. However, he was not selected for the European Cup final squad on 21 May, though he did join in with the post-match celebrations after United won on penalties following a 1-1 draw with Chelsea. Instead, Rio Ferdinand and Giggs lifted the trophy together having shared the captaincy during Neville's absence.

Neville started his first game in seventeen months when he captained Manchester United for the 2008 FA Community Shield against Portsmouth on 10 August 2008. He then made another start against Zenit St. Petersburg in the UEFA Super Cup, before making his first start at home since his injury against Villarreal in the opening group game of the UEFA Champions League 2008–09. On 21 September 2008, Neville started his first league game in almost 18 months when he played against Chelsea. Gary Neville extended his stay at Old Trafford until June 2010.

On 27 October 2009, Neville was sent off for a tackle on Adam Hammill in United's 2-0 away win against Barnsley in the League Cup Fourth Round.

International career

Neville made his first appearance for England in 1995 when he was picked by Terry Venables for the friendly against Japan. On 23 May 1996, he was joined in the England team by his brother Phil Neville for a match against China; they had also appeared together in the 1996 FA Cup Final two weeks earlier and thus were the first pair of brothers to play together in an FA Cup-final winning side and for England in the same season since Hubert and Francis Heron in 1877, 119 years earlier.

He has since been selected at right back for his country by five different coaches and potentially may become his country's most capped full back overall - Kenny Sansom, the former Crystal Palace and Arsenal left back, currently holds that honour with 86 caps. The emergence of teenager Micah Richards, form of both Manchester United club-mate Wes Brown & England Coach Fabio Capello preference to play Liverpool F.C player Glen Johnson has placed his position in the England team under threat.

He had been the youngest first choice player in the England first team during Euro 96, his first tournament, playing in each game until the semi-final, when he was suspended and England were subsequently knocked out by eventual winners, Germany. He also played in the 1998 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2000. A broken foot put paid to his hopes of playing the 2002 FIFA World Cup, but he quickly returned to the side after regaining his fitness, and was once again the first choice right back by the time of Euro 2004.

Neville missed the latter stages of the qualification campaign for the 2006 World Cup with injury. He returned to the England team in March 2006 for a friendly against Uruguay.

Neville was selected for England's 2006 World Cup squad. He played in England's opening Group B game against Paraguay but pulled his calf in training the night before the team's second game and was forced to miss the next three games until playing the full match in England's losing quarter-final against Portugal on 1 July. It was his 81st England cap, bringing him up to ninth in the all-time rankings, ahead of Gary Lineker and team-mate Michael Owen, who had briefly drawn level with Neville during the World Cup.

Neville briefly took over the England captaincy during this game after the substitution of David Beckham due to an injury shortly after half-time, despite the previous match's deputy captain John Terry also being on the field.

After the defeat to Portugal, Neville announced that he would continue to be available for selection for his country under new coach Steve McClaren and added that, unlike some former international team-mates, he would not ever make the decision to retire from the England set-up, stating: "That decision is not Gary Neville's to make". As one of three club captains (along with Terry and Steven Gerrard) in the first choice England line-up, he was mentioned as a contender for the England captaincy which Beckham vacated after elimination from the World Cup. However, he was clearly an outsider and Terry was given the job and Steven Gerrard made vice-captain.

On 11 October, Neville was involved in a game-changing incident during a Euro 2008 qualifier against Croatia when his straightforward backpass took an unfortunate bounce and caused goalkeeper Paul Robinson to miss his kick, which resulted in the ball ending up in the net. Although Robinson was at the centre of the moment, Neville was officially credited with an own goal, the second of his England career; he has scored no goals for England.

On 7 February 2007, Neville won his 85th cap in England's 1-0 friendly defeat to Spain. His appearance took him to within one cap of equalling Sansom's record for an England full back, and eighth in the all-time appearances list for his country. However, an ankle injury suffered on 17 March 2007 while playing for Manchester United robbed him of the chance to equal Sansom's record, as he was forced to miss the Euro 2008 qualifiers against Israel and Andorra on 24 March and 28 respectively. Surgery on his ankle ruled him out of two summer matches at the new Wembley Stadiummarker, and then a calf muscle injury delayed his recovery in the autumn. These injury problems, together with a perceived decline in ability, have threatened to put an end to Neville's international playing career.

On 24 May 2009, Neville was given a surprise recall to the England squad by Fabio Capello for the World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Andorra, but did not feature in any of these games.

Neville holds or co-holds a number of England records:

  • When he came on as a substitute against Italy at Leedsmarker in 2002, he earned his 51st cap, breaking the record for a right back held previously by Phil Neal.
  • His 11 appearances for England in the European Championship finals (over three tournaments) is a record.
  • Neville also holds the record for the most appearances by an outfield player without having scored a goal (other than own goals) for the England team. This less prestigious record was broken in 2004, having previously been held by Ray Wilson.
  • With his brother Phil, the Nevilles hold the record of England's most capped brothers, with 142 appearances between them. It was Phil's appearance as a substitute against Israel in 2007, a game for which Gary was injured, which broke a record they had jointly held with Jack and Bobby Charlton.
  • The Nevilles hold outright the record for the most appearances in the same England team by a pair of brothers with 31, although the 31st in 2007 came a whole seven years after the 30th.


Media

Neville was allegedly the ringleader of an idea to boycott an important Euro 2004 qualifier away to Turkey in support of teammate Rio Ferdinand who had been issued with a ban for missing a drug test. The strike never occurred and the match went ahead. He was believed to be behind a similar player protest in support of Alan Smith after the striker was dropped from the England squad because of his arrest related to an alleged off-the-field indiscretion, later proven to be untrue. Gary was also thought to be the chief instigator of the England players' snub of the British press and media after a match. The public perception of these incidents has led to Gary being lampooned in the media, for example his dubbing by the often-irreverent website Football365, as "Citizen Neville" (after Citizen Smith), while another cited nickname is "Red Nev". Neville's face has since frequently been superimposed onto the iconic image of Che Guevara in a range of contexts, including a humorous t-shirt.

In 2005, Gary prompted another debate in the aftermath of an England game against the Netherlands, which had been used to promote the "Let's kick racism out of football" campaign. Gary questioned whether certain corporate sponsor involved in the match believed in the cause enough to justify the publicity they received.

Gary has a long standing relationship with the Mediterraneanmarker island of Maltamarker, he has been an official tourism ambassador since 2001 and works with Air Malta to promote the country which he has regularly visited since childhood. In return, the Malta Tourism Authority and Air Malta sponsor the Gary Neville Soccer School on the island, which Gary tutors at every summer.

He is currently on the Management Committee of the Professional Footballers' Association.

Personal life

Neville married Emma Hadfield on 16 June 2007 and their first child, daughter Molly, was born on 11 January 2009.

In July 2009, he was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Boltonmarker for his outstanding contributions to football.

Career statistics

Club Season League Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Manchester United 1992–93 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
1993–94 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 0
1994–95 18 0 4 0 3 0 2 0 0 0 27 0
1995–96 31 0 6 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 39 0
1996–97 31 1 3 0 1 0 10 0 1 0 46 1
1997–98 34 0 3 0 0 0 8 0 0 0 45 0
1998–99 34 1 7 0 0 0 12 0 1 0 54 1
1999–2000 22 0 0 0 9 0 4 0 35 0
2000–01 32 1 2 0 0 0 14 0 1 0 49 1
2001–02 34 0 2 0 0 0 14 0 1 0 51 0
2002–03 26 0 3 0 5 0 10 1 0 0 44 1
2003–04 30 2 4 0 1 0 7 0 0 0 42 2
2004–05 22 0 4 0 1 0 7 1 1 0 35 1
2005–06 25 0 3 0 5 0 4 0 0 0 37 0
2006–07 24 0 3 0 0 0 6 0 0 0 33 0
2007–08 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
2008–09 16 0 2 0 3 0 4 0 4 0 29 0
2009–10 3 0 0 0 2 0 4 0 0 0 9 0
Total 383 5 46 0 22 0 115 2 13 0 579 7


Statistics accurate as of match played 25 November 2009

Honours

Club



Individual



References

  1. {{cite web| url=http://www.manutd.com/default.sps?pagegid={B4CEE8FA-9A47-47BC-B069-3F7A2F35DB70}&newsid=522184| title=Reserves: Everton 2 United 2}}
  2. {{cite news |url=http://www.manutd.com/default.sps?pagegid={B4CEE8FA-9A47-47BC-B069-3F7A2F35DB70}&newsid=6627528 |title=New deal for 'amazing' Neville |publisher=ManUtd.com |date=2009-02-20 |accessdate=2009-02-20 }}
  3. Includes other competitive competitions, including the FA Community Shield, UEFA Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup, FIFA Club World Cup


Further reading



External links




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