His versatility is useful in many games, especially as a man marker and in midfield, although his best position is probably left back:
After playing football for Bury Schools and Greater Manchester Schoolboys, Phil Neville joined Manchester United as a trainee on July 5, 1993. United’s gain was cricket’s loss, however, as Phil was regarded as an outstanding talent with the Lancashire youth side and could well have reached county level.
Less than 12 months after he had been signed, as a trainee Phil turned professional. His League debut was a real baptism of fire, a Manchester Derby at Maine Road in February 1995; the same season he captained United’s junior team to FA Youth Cup glory.
That was just the start of the silverware for the younger Neville brother, who has picked up five League Championship medals, two FA Cup medals and a Champions League winners’ medal while clocking up over 200 appearances for the Reds.
He reached his double-century in the 2000/2001 season, when he made over 30 appearances for the fourth successive season before picking up his fifth Premiership medal, scoring a peach of a goal against Middlesbrough to keep up with his brother on three United strikes each.
Phil’s performances have continually caught the eye of England’s managers and he has been a regular member of the international squad, with the heartbreaking exception of Glenn Hoddle’s 22-man party for France ‘98.
During his time at Old Trafford, Neville captained the Youth team to the FA Youth Cup in 1995 and has won a haul of medals that would leave many players green with envy. He has been a regular member of the England international squad, although he missed out on France ‘98. Unfortunately Phil will not remember Euro 2000 with much pleasure. It was his tackle that led to a last minute penalty winner for Romania that eliminated Kevin Keegan’s England at the first phase.
His continued selection for England under Sven Goran Eriksson proves wrong those who say he is merely a squad player at Old Trafford. And to further emphasis his happiness, Phil agreed to a new six-year deal in May 2001 that will keep him at Old Trafford beyond his 30th birthday.
The 2002/03 season saw Phil really come of age at Old Trafford, while deputising for the injured Roy Keane. Phil and Seba Veron anchored the midfield in a two-zero win over League leaders Arsenal in December 2002, keeping Patrick Vieira quiet as the Gunners capitulated. His great form in the middle of the park led to an England recall at the end of the season, in which Phil had won his sixth League medal. He played in midfield in the friendly against Serbia-Montenegro, and even captained his country for half an hour in the second period.
A fast, versatile and skilful defender, Phil Neville provided a very important role in United’s treble chase. He did not start every game but when he did play his performances were always excellent and consistent.
Full Name: Philip Alexander Neville
Position: Wing Back/Midfield
Date of Birth: January 21, 1977
Squad Number: 3
Place of Birth: Bury,
United Debut: January 28, 1995
Height: 5’ 11’’
Weight: 74.83 kg
Team: Manchester United