Sky Sports to unleash Neville in time to call Wembley showpiece

 

The excitement around Manchester United's potential Champions League and Premier League double is such that Sky Sports are hopeful their new signing Gary Neville can start his job early to be at Wembley as co-commentator on 28 May for the final against Barcelona.

Neville, 36, who retired in February, was due to start next season but with his former club on the brink of such a momentous achievement he could start as early as Saturday when they have the chance to wrap up the club's record 19th league title against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park. Sky Sports have used different former players and managers to fill the role since Andy Gray's departure in January.

Having Neville alongside commentator Martin Tyler for the Champions League final would be a huge coup for Sky who would be able to call upon the insight of a man who knows as well as anyone what makes United tick. It would be a way of ending the season on a high for the broadcaster after the mid-season upheaval of the Gray-Richard Keys departures.

Neville has not played anything like as many as the minimum 10 Premier League games to get a medal when – providing United pick up one more point from their last two league games – they are presented with the trophy after their final game of the season against Blackpool at home a week on Sunday.

The club will probably request a medal for reserve goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak which is common practice for No 2 goalkeepers who have not played the requisite 10 league games. The only other likely candidate for a medal request is Wes Brown who has featured in just seven league games this season. Gabriel Obertan (seven) will miss out. Antonio Valencia, injured for much of the season, needs just one more appearance to reach 10. Michael Owen has made 10 appearances and will qualify for his first Premier League winners' medal.

Wayne Rooney will not face any Football Association disciplinary action for his V-sign in the direction of the Chelsea fans at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Sir Alex Ferguson has defended his team against accusations that they do not match up to successful United sides of the past. Ferguson, speaking to a New York radio station, pointed out that, among other things, United are still undefeated in the Champions League this season.

He said: "Everyone has acknowledged how great a team Barcelona are but Manchester United are in this final. Everyone has said this is not a good Manchester United team, that we are not this or that.

"But we have scored more goals than anyone else. Our home form has been magnificent. We are undefeated in Europe. We are in the Champions League final and we will win the league by getting one more point. You have to put all the criticism to one side because I have to be realistic when I look at my team and ask, 'Am I satisfied?' Those players have given me everything."

In a rare reference to United's defeat to Barcelona in the 2009 Champions League final – which he usually refuses to discuss – Ferguson said that his side had "started off really well, then gave away a bad goal." He said: "After that, Barcelona kept the ball very well, as they always do. What we have to do is find a solution to the Xavi-Messi-Iniesta problem. Everyone is searching for that because they are outstanding footballers. [But] We have our share, too."

Five games that swung title towards Old Trafford

Manchester United all but clinched the title with Sunday's victory over Chelsea, but there were other key moments that ensured their advantage in the title race



* Man United 3-2 Liverpool (19 Sept)

A Steven Gerrard double helped Liverpool recover from 2-0 down, only for Dimitar Berbatov to complete his hat-trick with six minutes remaining



* Aston Villa 2-2 Man United (13 Nov)

United came back from two goals down to maintain their unbeaten start to the season. Late goals from Federico Macheda (81 minutes) and Nemanja Vidic (85) secured a point for the visitors.



* Blackpool 2-3 Man United (25 Jan)

Former United defender Craig Cathcart and DJ Campbell had United 2-0 down at the interval, only for Berbatov (two) and substitute Javier Hernandez to turn the game around in the last 18 minutes.

* Man United 2-1 Man City (12 Feb)

Wayne Rooney's spectacular late winner (above) helped put United's title challenge back on course, a week after their first league defeat of the season at Wolves.



* West Ham 2-4 Man United (2 April)

Trailing at the break to two Mark Noble penalties, United were indebted to a Rooney treble and late Hernandez strike.

Alex Corrigan and James Mariner

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
News
news

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Travel
travel

...and the perfect time to visit them

Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger reveals he has testicular cancer - and is losing his trademark long hair as a result

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week