Neville attacks 'mollycoddled' players

The Manchester United captain Gary Neville has followed up his manager's claims that footballers are "mollycoddled", by suggesting they "don't know how to set up their own bank account, they don't know what they're spending their money on and they can't make their own decisions".

Sir Alex Ferguson's assertion came at a League Managers Association dinner last Wednesday, and Neville said players were ceding "between five and 15 per cent" of their salaries for representation they do not need. "Every footballer needs an adviser at some point. But a player doesn't need to pay [that] to a guy to set up a bank account, buy him a new fridge, or ask his club's chief executive for a pay rise," Neville said.

"For me, life is an education and you learn things as you go through it. I think a footballer should sit down and negotiate with a club, even if his agent is sitting with him. It is in a player's best interests. There are some agents who do a good job looking after players, but there are others who stifle and mollycoddle players. Some agents will come into a player's life when he is 20, leave his life at 34 and never want to know that player again."

Neville returns from suspension for Wednesday's Champions League encounter with Besiktas though more interest will focus on the goalkeeping situation. Edwin van der Sar, who took a knock on Saturday, could make way either for Tomasz Kuszczak or Ben Foster, who again did not make the bench on Saturday despite being named in the England side beaten by Brazil last weekend. United are expected to be without Dimitar Berbatov and Jonny Evans. The club are not expected to begin discussions over a new contract for Wayne Rooney until the ban on his agent, Paul Stretford, is lifted in January.

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