Manchester United will bounce back, says Gary Neville

 

Gary Neville sees no reason for Manchester United to approach the new campaign with pessimism.

As doubts persist over the planned initial public offering, intended to raise much-needed funds for the Glazer family to reduce their debts, which many feel are to blame for a relative lack of transfer activity in recent years, once again Sir Alex Ferguson may find it difficult to compete in the market place.

Eden Hazard has already rejected overtures to join Chelsea and United know if it comes down to a straight fight between them and Manchester City for Arsenal's wantaway forward Robin van Persie, the Blues have deeper pockets.

With Darren Fletcher's future uncertain, midfield resources look painfully thin, even with the arrivals of Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell.

And, as they also have a 22,000-mile pre-season to navigate before their attempt to regain the Premier League from City starts with a trip to Everton on August 20, there is little wonder many United supporters are adopting a negative stance.

Neville feels such opinions are unwarranted.

Speaking at the launch of his Sustainability in Sport project, the former United defender is adamant his old club will bounce back.

"When you don't win the championship at United that is always treated as a mini disaster - and I am talking internally, not externally," said Neville.

"The players and manager will be devastated. That is not exclusive to last year, it is every year we never won one.

"But when you think about it, last season was a great achievement.

"The main go-to players, (Nemanja) Vidic and Fletcher, weren't there almost all year, yet it still went down to virtually the final kick of the ball.

"The club will always have to respond to critics and negativity when they don't win trophies. That is the reality of being a Manchester United manager, player or fan.

"You just have to accept it, get on with it and respond.

"I am sure they will. They always have before. There is nothing to suggest this time is any different."

Although he retired 18 months ago and has now added the role of Roy Hodgson's England deputy to that of respected Sky pundit, Neville will still play his own small role in United's pre-season.

As part of his green initiative with business partner and Forest Green Rovers chairman Dale Vince, Neville has organised a friendly between the Conference outfit and a United XI on Sunday, August 5.

Ferguson's main players will be in Norway for a similarly-timed encounter with Valerenga but there is always the potential for a first-team star or two to make an appearance, in addition to some of the youngsters who flew out to South Africa this morning for the first part of an epic summer.

England Under-18 international Tyler Blackett, Frederic Vaseli, a transfer window signing from Manchester City, and goalkeeper Ben Amos, who has already signed a deal to spend next season on loan with Hull, were amongst the more notable youngsters required due to the absence of those resting post-Euro 2012, preparing for Olympic duty or, in the cases of Vidic, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans, still not fit after injury.

There is still a healthy smattering of experience, including Michael Carrick, who seems to have joined midfield partner Paul Scholes in international retirement, Antonio Valencia, Anderson and Javier Hernandez, in addition to Kagawa and Powell.

Record signing Dimitar Berbatov was pictured prior to take-off even though he has joined Sir Alex Ferguson in admitting his future lies away from Old Trafford, whilst Rio Ferdinand, fresh from his latest Twitter row, will be skipper.

First up are AmaZulu FC at Durban's impressive Moses Mabhida Stadium - a World Cup semi-final venue two years ago - in a game that takes on added significance as it falls on Nelson Mandela's 94th birthday.

Neville believes it is the influence of United's own father figure that will ensure his own club remain at the forefront of the battle for honours.

"You feed off the manager," he said.

"It is like your parents or a school teacher. His influences cannot help but rub off on you; your principles and how you live your life, how you want to be. The drive, determination and never-say-die attitude. If it doesn't rub off you won't be at the club anymore.

"All the players, whether they have silky skills or a tough-tackling defender need to have the same toughness. There has to be a relentlessness that allows you to last so long at one football club under him.

"It is not easy and he will find out the weak pretty quickly.

"But lots of people rise to it because they love playing for him. They want to win trophies and know to be at a club like that is the pinnacle."

PA

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