Terry Venables was brilliant. Kevin Keegan believed in me... and Sven Goran Eriksson never shouted: Phil Neville lifts the lid on the managers he played for
Retiring Everton man on those that guided his career - and what he learned from Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes
As Phil Neville, having confirmed his retirement as a player, considers whether to stay at Everton under Roberto Martinez as a coach, he has been talking about the club and international managers he has worked for... from Terry Venables to David Moyes.
Venables was brilliant. In terms of the whole management thing, he was the most rounded. He had man-management, he had a fiery side. The players respected him, tactically he was brilliant. I liked the ways he had coaches around him who challenged him, Don Howe and Bryan Robson. The fact that the No2 and No3 were not afraid to express an opinion would make the senior coach even better.
His training sessions were brilliant, really enjoyable. He played me at wing-back and he was probably the only coach who got that system working properly. It wasn't five at the back - it was three at the back and the rest were attacking, really fluid. For man-management, he was actually ok with me.
When a manager names a team, the biggest thing I have learned is this: my attitude has always been when he names it, if you are not in it, just get on with it and smile. Not everyone is like me, so I can't expect everyone to react like me. That was maybe Glenn's problem. Technically he was one of the greatest players we have ever produced. He wanted everyone to have his standard but that wasn't going to be possible. He was young to be an England manager.
He gave me the most games of any England manager and really believed in me. I really enjoyed playing under him. We didn't play well at all at Euro 2000. We took a two-goal lead against Portugal but they dominated the game. We were poor against Romania, had a good half against Germany.
To be fair, I had one game under Howard Wilkinson and for the three days, I loved playing under him. He was organised, he was fair - you hear these things about him being a dour Yorkshire man but he was quite the opposite. He was funny.
Steve McClaren was one of the best coaches I have worked for and I think he was unlucky. The last game against Croatia killed him because he lost so many players through injury.
Sven Goran Eriksson
Sven had a really lovely manner about him. He never shouted. As much as I loved playing for him, there was a time when you wanted him to walk into the dressing room and give you a kick up the backside. Instead of saying well done all the time, the world isn't always rosy. With Sven, everything was always rosy. But that was just his way - he got the team into a good moment.
What he learnt from Sir Alex Ferguson...
Two important areas. Recruiting the right players is the most important and how you handle the players is the second most important. He left the biggest impression just by the way he treated me, he always made me a feel a part of things and I didn't play every week. He made me feel as if I did. Stuart has asked me to do certain things with players not in the team. It's come natural. I revert back to how Sir Alex made me feel.
... and David Moyes
I have probably had the best upbringing in terms of learning from two managers. Preparation for the game was meticulous with David Moyes. There was no stone left unturned. By the end when I left Everton, we were almost policing ourselves. Set piece, wide free-kick, we were in position before he'd finished saying it. He got to that level as Sir Alex at United, the club is almost running itself, that comes from longevity, stability and the way they set things up. The team at Everton when I left were almost policing the dressing-room themselves, managing themselves. Moyes was just giving little reminders here and there. He has the hunger, the hard work.
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