Neville hits out at Manchester City

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The Independent Football

Everton skipper Phil Neville has criticised Manchester City's pursuit of his team-mate Joleon Lescott.

The Toffees have turned down a second, improved, bid for the defender with City expected to be back again with a new offer.

Their first bid was £15m earlier in the month, with an £18m offer made and quickly rejected last night.

Everton have constantly maintained that the player was not for sale.

Boss David Moyes had City's second offer relayed to him in the United States a couple of hours before the friendly against the Major League Soccer All-Stars in Salt Lake City.

Neville said: "The club have turned down two offers and the manager is not prepared to sell him. Let's move on and let's look forward to the new season.

"Will City get the message? The way they are going about their business, I don't think they will. There are ways and means of doing things - and Everton do it the right way."

Everton have been infuriated by City's persistence, with sources at the club complaining that the business has been carried out through the media.

Everton maintain now that the only way that the situation will change is if Lescott asks for a transfer.

The 26-year-old England international played the full 90 minutes of Everton's 1-1 draw in Utah last night, and scored a penalty in the 5-4 shoot-out victory.

Neville has sympathy for Lescott's position , and said: "It's not a nice situation for any player to be in when there is lots of speculation but Joleon has remained tight to the group throughout.

"His professionalism is second to none and he has been outstanding on this tour. We can only take things on face value."

Everton are now heading back from the States and are not expected back on Merseyside, via Heathrow, until tomorrow afternoon.

Then their next match is a friendly at Coventry on Sunday, with a visit to Blackpool on Tuesday and a home friendly with Malaga next Friday.

And Everton are now resigned to another approach from City, with their boss Mark Hughes today making it clear that Lescott was a player he clearly admired.

If Lescott agitates for a move, or asks for a transfer, Everton may have to do business at around £25m.