Neville retired in fear of being United 'passenger'

 

Gary Neville has confirmed his intention to remain at Manchester United for the remainder of the season, as Owen Hargreaves' exclusion from United's Champions League squad leaves it doubtful that he will play for the club again.

Neville revealed that he had resolved during United's fortuitous 2-1 win at West Bromwich Albion on New Year's Day, during which the 35-year-old right-back was lucky not to be sent off, that his playing days were over as he felt himself becoming "a passenger".

Of the game at The Hawthorns – already identified by the Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger as an example of United's "lucky" unbeaten start to the season – Neville said: "I felt I had reached the end. In fact, it wasn't after that game, it was during. I had been thinking about it for a month or so before that. The way I felt at the start of the season, when I started picking up injuries, there is only so many times you can come back.

"Your mentality is such at this club that you are always willing to go again," he added. "But sometimes you get a feeling in your mind that you just can't go again and that time had come for me."

Neville has said that he has no intention to move into full-time coaching or management, which reinforces the possibility that he will consider a role in television.

"You don't just give up after one bad game," he said. "I had enough of them over the last 20 years to know that can happen. But in the previous two seasons I had played 25-30 games and there was always a period where I felt I was contributing. Once you have lost that and you know it was not quite right, you don't want to be a passenger.

"I am going to stay at the club until the end of the season and do some coaching because I have got my coaching badge to complete but at this moment in time my mindset isn't to go into coaching or management full-time. I have been working for a football club every day for 20 years. I don't want to rush into another relationship quickly."

Hargreaves, who has been suffering with knee problems for two years, was named in the starting line-up against Wolves in November but sustained a hamstring injury in the first few minutes. He has not played since.



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